SYDNEY, July 23 (Reuters) - The New South Wales state government has thrown its support behind Australia’s bids for the men’s and women’s Rugby World Cups as part of an ambitious plan to host a string of global sporting events through the next decade.
Rugby Australia said last December they would bid for the 2021 women’s World Cup and the men’s event in 2027, and were buoyed by NSW’s plan to spend around A$2 billion ($1.48 billion) to demolish and rebuild three stadiums in Sydney.
The state government, led by Premier Gladys Berejiklian, confirmed on Monday it would bid to host rugby’s global showpieces along with other major sporting events up to 2029 in an effort to generate A$1 billion in visitor spending.
Rugby has a relatively strong following in New South Wales, where the state capital Sydney hosted the final of the men’s 2003 World Cup.
“We want to attract the world’s best and biggest events right here in NSW,” Berejiklian said in a statement.
“The benefits are not just for sports fans being able to see the best in the world, but for jobs and the economy as well the 10 major events would inject at least $1 billion into the economy in visitor spend alone.”
NSW said it would also bid for the 2022 UCI road cycling world championships and the 2023 women’s soccer World Cup.
The soccer World Cup bid has already received support from the federal government.
The state also listed the men’s and women’s 2020 World Twenty20 cricket tournaments among its bidding targets, although the events have already been awarded to Australia.
The NSW government said it would appoint an advisory committee led by Rod McGeoch, who helped secure the 2000 summer Olympics in Sydney, to steer the bids.
Australia were sole hosts of the 2003 rugby World Cup and co-hosted the inaugural 1987 tournament with New Zealand.
Rugby Australia welcomed the state’s backing as they prepare to submit their bid for the 2021 women’s rugby World Cup before next month’s deadline.
“Today’s announcement ... is terrific news for our game and sports fans across Australia,” RA chief executive Raelene Castle said.
“The NSW Government’s commitment to make this a reality, is welcome news and a strong vote of confidence in our bids.”
$1 = 1.3479 Australian dollars Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Ian Ransom