Irish Rugby chief Philip Browne insists 2023 Rugby World Cup remains on track

IRFU chief executive Philip Browne
Philip Browne says that the Rugby World Cup is going to cost the country no more than the £120m tournament fee

Irish Rugby chief Philip Browne says Ireland's 2023 Rugby World Cup bid is on track despite the revelation that new government legislation is required.

The Republic's Minister for Sport Shane Ross said on Wednesday that a bill needed to be rushed through before the Irish parliament's summer recess.

This is following financial guarantees sought by World Rugby but IRFU chief executive Browne played down the issue.

"We're going to deliver a unique event full of atmosphere," insisted Browne.

"There is an Irish diaspora of 70 million worldwide, particularly in North America, which is a huge market for rugby."

The Irish bid was officially submitted to World Rugby on Thursday afternoon, with the international governing body scheduled to announce the successful country in November.

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Eleven-year-old Antrim boy Alex has honour of submitting Ireland's 2023 World Cup bid

Ireland bidding against South Africa and France

Ireland are battling with South Africa and France for the right to host the tournament and the winning bid will have to pay World Rugby £120m.

On Wednesday, the Republic's Sports Minister Ross said the legislation was urgently required to "provide the necessary guarantees" for the Irish bid, which is also being backed by the Northern Ireland authorities.

Browne acknowledged that the Irish government would effectively have to underwrite the overall costs of the tournament although he insisted that suggestions the country's taxpayers could be left with a huge bill were misplaced.

"If you didn't sell any tickets at all, the Government might have to step in and pay for the cost of the tournament," Browne told Irish broadcaster RTE.

"(But) The reality is, in no previous tournament has there ever been a situation where there hasn't been an operating profit. It will cost Ireland the £120m sterling tournament fee."

Ireland has 'necessary tournament infrastructure'

An aerial view of Croke Park
A successful bid will see Croke Park and other GAA stadiums staging Rugby World Cup matches in 2023

Browne insisted that Ireland has the necessary stadium infrastructure and sufficient hotel beds to put on "an amazing tournament".

As well as the traditional rugby stadiums such as the Aviva in Dublin, Kingspan in Belfast and Thomond Park in Limerick, several GAA venues including the 82,300-capacity Croke Park in Dublin and a redeveloped Casement Park are being earmarked to stage games during the tournament.

"We have the stadia, thanks to the GAA, we have the tremendous support of government here in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland, which is absolutely vital if you want to run an event of this scale.

"We need 2.7 million bed nights in Ireland during the tournament.

"We're quite happy and we have been speaking with hotel federation and Failte Ireland and the Northern Ireland tourism bodies and we have guaranteed 2.4 million bed nights already and we have a price mechanism so that there is a fair price for those beds."

A young rugby player from Northern Ireland, Templepatrick 11-year-old Alex Place, had the honour of officially handing the bid to World Rugby on Thursday after winning a competition run by the IRFU.

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