EPL Clubs Have 'Legal Obligation' For Grounds To Be Used For '15 Rugby World Cup
EPL football clubs that agreed to be included in England’s bid to host the 2015 Rugby World Cup have been told that they have a "legal and moral" obligation to allow their stadiums to host matches in the tournament, according to Mairs & Ogden of the London TELEGRAPH. The Premier League said that it "has yet to give permission" for clubs including Liverpool, Newcastle United and ManU to stage games, citing "complications in the fixture list," which will not be confirmed until June '15. That date is "far too late" for England Rugby 2015, the Rugby Football Union’s subsidiary company charged with selling 2.9 million tickets to ensure the World Cup hits it financial targets. ER 2015 needs to finalize the stadiums that are going to be used by early next year. Former RFU CEO Francis Baron claims that the Premier League clubs "all gave legally-binding guarantees that stadiums would be available" when the bid was submitted to the Int'l Rugby Board in '09. Baron said, "But as far as I am concerned all the stadiums in our bid have all signed venue-guarantee letters and they are legally obligated to provide their stadiums subject to resolving the actual dates." Baron is "confident that the impasse will be resolved," claiming that all parties "have a duty to the public to make the World Cup work in light of the success of the Olympics." The Government has underwritten £25M ($40.5M) of the World Cup host fee of £80M ($130M). EPL CEO Richard Scudamore said that he hoped to accommodate World Cup matches, but warned that "scope was limited." Scudamore: “It’s quite difficult because we won’t have a fixture list until July 2015 for that period, but we are talking to them about the practicalities. We will do what we can, but what we can do is limited" (TELEGRAPH, 10/1).