HK to host IRB Council meeting for first time
In a first for Asia, the 26 voting members of the International Rugby Board (IRB) Council will meet in Hong Kong on July 8 to talk about the bidding process for the hosting rights for future Rugby World Cups, in particular the 2015 and 2019 tournaments.
The full IRB council, under the chairmanship of Bernard Lapasset, will meet at the Novotel Airport Hotel to hammer out details on the tendering process as well as convince members that the host unions for RWC 2015 and RWC 2019 should be chosen next year - in July, 2009 - instead of voting only on the venue for the 2015 event.
'Hong Kong is a convenient meeting place for the IRB. We hosted the IRB chief executives' meeting a few months ago and they realised this is a suitable hub as it is well located for both the northern and southern hemispheres,' said Allan Payne, Hong Kong Rugby Football Union executive director.
'We won't have any role whatsoever in the meeting other than simply facilitating the whole event. But just by hosting the meeting keeps us in the picture and this is very important to us,' Payne said.
The most powerful men in world rugby will arrive for the one-day meeting, including the heads of the eight foundation unions who have two seats each on the IRB Council - England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and France.
The rest of the council comprise of Argentina, Canada, Japan and Italy who have one seat each, as do the six regional associations, which include the Asian Rugby Football Union.
Japan, which lost out by one vote to New Zealand on hosting the 2011 World Cup, have already indicated they will be contesting again for the 2015 tournament. Other potential bidders are England (and Wales), South Africa, Scotland, Argentina and Italy.
It is understood the Council will endorse recommendations made by Rugby World Cup Limited to announce the next two venues simultaneously, breaking with the normal practice of announcing them one at a time.