IRFU reject World Cup vote claims


RUGBY: The IRFU has dismissed any suggestion of impropriety on the part of the union's representatives on the International Board (IRB), Noel Murphy and Peter Boyle, as alleged in a Sunday newspaper article with regard to the voting to decide the host nation for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

A spokesperson for the IRFU, John Redmond, said: "The allegations made in a Sunday newspaper concerning representatives of the IRFU and the casting of votes to decide the host nation for the 2011 World Cup are totally without any substance whatsoever.

"The IRFU has never entered into negotiations with New Zealand or any other nation with regard to staging a fixture for the re-opening of Lansdowne Road."

Redmond went on to point out that the likely opposition for such an event would be "the auld enemy England, who would guarantee a full house".

The IRB has also reacted strongly to reject the newspaper speculation.

In a strongly worded statement it contended: "As a result of unfounded allegations printed in an English newspaper today, the IRB today stated that there would be no re-vote for the host union for Rugby World Cup 2011 and takes exception to any suggestion that the vote was not carried out in a proper and professional manner.

"The voting procedure and process was communicated to the three tendering unions in advance of the vote on November 17th, 2005.

"The process and procedure was approved by the directors of Rugby World Cup Limited and the IRB Council.

"The vote itself was verified by independent auditors from Price Waterhouse Coopers, who informed the IRB on the day, as reported to Council at the time, that the vote took place correctly and professionally.

"A letter containing various unsubstantiated and unfounded allegations has been sent to the IRB from an English firm of solicitors purporting to act on behalf of the Asian Rugby Football Union (the Asian Regional Association of the IRB) and was printed in part in an English newspaper.

"The democratically elected officials of the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) have informed the IRB that the letter should not have been sent as it does not represent the views of ARFU and that the person who it seems engaged the solicitors did not have the constitutional authority to do so.

"The Secretary General of ARFU has written to the solicitors stating that they must cease and desist purporting to act for and on behalf of the Asian Rugby Football Union."

Japanese officials had questioned the decision to keep the vote count secret after the ballot. "We wonder why the vote, which took place when the All Blacks were in Britain, after the Lions toured New Zealand, was secret," Yoshiri Mori, president of the Japanese Rugby Football Union was reported as saying in November.

"FIFA and the International Olympic Committee make their voting totals public. Why doesn't the IRB?"

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