(Reuters) - France is willing to pay World Rugby 150 million pounds as a hosting fee to stage the 2023 Rugby World Cup, the country’s bid leader Claude Atcher has said.
The host nation must pay the governing body 120 million pounds to stage the tournament but France has offered an additional 30 million as it tries to edge out Ireland and South Africa in the battle to win hosting rights.
“You have to pay a fee to host. It is a minimum. We have proposed not 120 million pounds but 150 million pounds,” Atcher was quoted as saying by British media.
“This fee is 100 percent guaranteed by the French government.”
France, South Africa and Ireland have submitted formal bids for the 2023 tournament.
Atcher said that giving France the right to host the World Cup would help safeguard international rugby’s future.
Strong domestic leagues in France and England have given both countries an economic advantage and the ability to attract top players from other nations.
“We have a responsibility to support the development of rugby in the world because, if we don’t do anything, in five to 10 years you will have two, three to four teams on the same level and that’s all, and then rugby will die,” he added.
“If we are awarded the World Cup it will accelerate our political changes with the professional championship in France. If we don’t change the rules in five years or 10 years, all South African, Australian and New Zealand players will play in France, in England.
“The best players are not playing for the national team so the results are not as expected by the unions, so it’s very damaging.”
The three bidding nations will make their presentations to the voting bodies on Monday, with the final decision to be announced on Nov. 15.
Writing by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford