By STEVE DOUGLAS, AP Sports Writer
The United States will host the Rugby World Cup for the first time after being voted host to the men’s tournament in 2031 and the women’s tournament two years later.
World Rugby announced the host countries for all World Cups from 2025-33 following a meeting of its council in Dublin on Thursday, where Australia is also hosting back-to-back tournaments in 2027 ( men) and 2029 (women).
The game is breaking new ground by bringing the men’s tournament – World Rugby’s biggest revenue asset – to North America, which the governing body considers to be an area of untapped potential. in the same commercial and sporting sense. The women’s World Cup was played in Canada in 2006.
USA Rugby chief executive Ross Young described the decision as a “paradigm-shifting catalyst for the growth of our sport, not just here in the United States but around the world.”
“USA Rugby will now attempt a new era,” Young added, “and ensure that the sport’s most valuable activity is a springboard to creating lasting, lasting enthusiasm and passion for rugby from coast to coast. ”
Hosting the two World Cups will cost about $ 500 million, with profits and losses split between World Rugby and USA Rugby. More than 20 American cities are possible hosts for World Cup matches, according to USA Rugby.
The bid received support from the White House, with US President Joe Biden sending a letter to World Rugby last month offering government guarantees and his support for “the progress of rugby in the United States.”
The men’s Rugby World Cup is considered in some parts of the world as the third largest sporting event, after the soccer World Cup and the summer Olympics.
The United States hosts all three events over a five -year span from 2026, starting with the men’s soccer World Cup that year – with Mexico and Canada as co -hosts – and then the Olympics in Los Angeles. Angeles in 2028.
“The unparalleled growth made possible by bringing the world’s third largest sporting event and the fastest growing women’s event to the world’s largest sports market cannot be overstated, “said USA Rugby.
Sydney Harbor Bridge was lit in green and gold following the announcement of World Rugby, where the men’s tournament will return to Australia for the first time since 2003.
It is seen as an opportunity to transform rugby in the country as the World Cups come after the British and Irish Lions travel to Australia in 2025, bringing much-needed revenue to its governing body-Rugby Australia – severely hit by the pandemic. .
Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marinos called it “the start of a new era for Australian Rugby.”
“Australia will be the center of the rugby world in the next decade,” he said, “and that’s very exciting.”
The 2027 tournament is the 40th anniversary of Australia and New Zealand hosting the first Rugby World Cup in 1987.
For the first time, World Rugby is using a new partnership hosting model as part of a streamlined bid process. Australia has already been named as the “preferred candidate” for the 2027 and ’29 tournaments while the United States has entered into an “exclusive targeted dialogue” with World Rugby for the 2031 men’s tournament.
England has been announced as the host of the women’s World Cup in 2025.
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