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Volume 7 No. 80
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Stadiums Crucial To Australia's Rugby World Cup Bids, Pulver Says

Former Rugby Australia CEO Bill Pulver said that a rebuild of Sydney's stadiums "would be crucial" in bringing the 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup and 2027 Rugby World Cup to Australia, according to Fiona Bollen of the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. As "one of his final acts in the job," Pulver announced plans for the bids during the unveiling of the Super W, a women's 15s competition to start next year. Pulver was confident RA could win hosting rights for the women's and men's tournaments but the NSW state government's stadiums rebuild plan "would need to go ahead." Pulver said, "I think the 2021 Women's World Cup and the 2027 men's World Cup, we're in very good shape. I give great credit to the (NSW) state government for the stadiums strategy they've just announced. ... This city has stadiums for rectangular sport that is simply inadequate. Their plan will make us world class across all the different sizes of stadiums you need to compete for these truly world class events." Australia previously considered bidding for the 2031 Rugby World Cup, but moved forward its plans after South Africa did not secure the '23 hosting rights. A southern hemisphere nation has not hosted since New Zealand in '11, with Japan to host '19. Pulver said that the technical review showed stadiums as a "key part in South Africa finishing as the preferred host" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 12/13).

'ABSOLUTE PRIORITY': In Sydney, Nicole Jeffery reported Australian Sports Commission Chair John Wylie said that governments "should be encouraging people to get their bums off seats rather than spending billions building more luxurious stadiums to accommodate them." At the AIS Sports Performance Awards this week, Wylie had a "dig at the NSW government's decision" to spend A$2.3B ($1.76B) rebuilding the 18-year-old ANZ Stadium at Homebush and the 30-year-old Allianz Stadium at Moore Park. He repeated the criticism on Thursday, saying that "a government that supported stadiums above community facilities had its priorities wrong." Wylie: "When large amounts of money goes into better and better stadiums, you are encouraging people to sit down and consume sport rather than play it. We should be encouraging people to participate. It should be the absolute priority of governments to be promoting and ­investing in sports participation" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 12/15).