New Zealand’s government have stated that they remain committed to hosting the 2021 Rugby World Cup if it is postponed until next year.
World Rugby have recommended postponing the women’s edition of the Rugby World Cup as a result of the ongoing effects of the pandemic.
While a final decision has yet to be made, the sport’s governing body will likely push the tournament, which was due to kick off on the 18th of September this year, back to 2022.
“We really believe that it’s the right recommendation taking into account the best interest of the players and fans; certainly this decision has players at heart”
Interim World Rugby CEO Alan Gilpin, on the difficult decision to recommend the postponement of Rugby World Cup 2021 pic.twitter.com/weUn1iXi98
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) March 2, 2021
‘We accept the current circumstances are not ideal.’
New Zealand’s sports minister Grant Robertson announced that the pacific nation’s support for the tournament would remain for 2022, saying the decision was down to World Rugby.
“We all wanted the tournament to go ahead as planned this year, but we also accept that the current Covid-19 constrained circumstances are not ideal for high-performance athletes in a tournament situation,” the minister said in a statement via RTE.
“Ultimately this is a decision for World Rugby to make. If they do postpone we are fully committed to hosting the event next year.
“The government is supporting NZ Rugby’s hosting of the tournament with financial contributions through the Major Events Development Fund and Sport New Zealand. That support will remain in place for 2022.”
The tournament is set to feature 12 teams. But, currently, only nine teams have qualified for the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
Major teams such as Ireland and Scotland have yet to qualify for the World Cup, as the European Qualification Tournament was postponed due to the ongoing pandemic.
Pushing the tournament back a year means that there is a greater likelihood of those qualification fixtures being fulfilled. It will also make it more feasible for supporters from around the globe to attend.