Rugby World Cup 2023: South African government lifts ban on hosting sporting events

South African fans watch Francois Pienaar lift the trophy after South Africa defeated New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup final at Ellis Park, Johannesburg, 24th June 1995
South African fans watched Francois Pienaar lift the trophy after South Africa defeated New Zealand in the 1995 Rugby World Cup final in Johannesburg

South Africa hopes to stage the 2023 Rugby World Cup after the government lifted a ban on hosting sports events.

The ban was imposed on rugby, cricket, athletics and netball last year after they failed to meet diversity targets.

Athletics is the only federation not to have its sanction lifted.

SA Rugby president Mark Alexander said South Africa can "now put the finishing touches to an outstanding bid" - France and Ireland are also in the running and a decision will be made in November.

Alexander added: "This is great news and a tribute to the work that the sport has been doing in recent years to stay in tune and relevant to modern South Africa."

The Springboks won the Rugby World Cup when they hosted it in 1995. South Africa staged the football World Cup in 2010 and jointly held cricket's World Cup with Zimbabwe and Kenya in 2003.

The ban was introduced as part of the country's ongoing mission to encourage more opportunities for black players and administrators.

On lifting the sanctions, Sports Minister Thulas Nxesi said: "I would like to congratulate rugby, cricket and netball on their improved scores, you were clearly willing to walk the extra mile."

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