GAA congress to consider RWC role
The GAA will consider making available six grounds to facilitate Ireland’s rugby world cup (RWC) bid. Today’s Central Council meeting viewed a presentation proposing that a motion go to next year’s annual congress to amend Rule 5.1, governing the use of association property in order to allow venues to be used for the tournament in 2023 or 2027.
If the motion passes the IRFU, who floated the proposal earlier this year, can proceed with formulating a bid by the deadline of this time next year. This would also be contingent on substantial government funding.
Croke Park would be needed for the final, as a venue with a capacity of at least 60,000 is required whereas a number of other provincial venues would also be required in order for the IRFU to propose sufficient locations to sustain their bid.
The other grounds suggested at today’s meeting include three Munster venues - the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick, Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney and Cork’s Páirc Uí Chaoimh, which is due to be refurbished - as well as Pearse Stadium in Galway City and Casement Park in Belfast, which is also due to be redeveloped.
During the rebuilding of Lansdowne Road between 2007 and 2010, Croke Park was made available for rugby and soccer internationals but that dispensation applied only to the headquarters venue and not any of the GAA’s other venues.
A statement from the IRFU this afternoon, said: "The IRFU fully understands and respects this process and looks forward to the GAA’s response in due course, while also acknowledging that any bid would be heavily dependent on support from the Government and the GAA.
"The number of stadia that would be required for the tournament has not yet been decided, but a key element will be to establish the number of locations and venues available before a feasibility study is undertaken to determine Ireland’s overall capacity to host the tournament."
IRFU chief executive Philip Browne added: “The Rugby World Cup in New Zealand showed what a country of four million people could achieve in terms of attracting visitors and showcasing the potential of a country, so an overall Ireland bid is something that the government was keen to discuss with us.
“I think everybody is aware of the benefits from both a social and economic perspective that would come from hosting the third largest sporting event on the globe. We are at the early stages of examining the feasibility of a bid and part of this study is to determine the interest and support of Government and other relevant bodies.”
Other business at the meeting included acceptance the procedures to ensure stricter compliance with the GAA’s rule 1.10 on amateurism, specifically in connection with the payment of inter-county managers. These formed the basis of option two – as distinct from upholding the status quo or allowing regulated payments to managers – in the discussion document on the subject published by director general Páraic Duffy last January.
A register of managers will be circulated to the counties next month and will include details of all team managements, including the practitioners involved, their designated roles and their remuneration or expenses regime. This will be signed off by county officers and lodged in Croke Park by the end of the year.
External professional advisers will conduct spot checks on counties to ensure compliance.
The meeting also received an update on the introduction of Hawk-Eye score detection technology, which is to be introduced on a trial basis at Croke Park. Whereas the process is taking longer than originally anticipated, according to Croke Park, “Hawk-Eye is confident that with further testing the system will be ready shortly. It is already working at 98 per cent reliability, and Hawk-Eye is satisfied that it is within touching distance of increasing this to the level of its tennis and cricket technologies.”