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CAPE TOWN - South Africa narrowly lost the bid for 2023 Rugby World Cup bid to France on Thursday. SA's victory could have earned the country an economic boost, Econometrix economist, Jeffrey Rob said.

The South African government was ready and in full support of the country hosting the World Cup. As testament, Cabinet approved a request for guarantees to the value of R2.7 billion, required from World Rugby, as a prerequisite to hosting the event.

Rob says the missed opportunity would have given the tourism sector a couple of millions, with tourist spending on retail giving a boost to local businesses. "Local businesses would make good profits months before and after the tournament," Rob said.

President of SA Rugby, Mr. Mark Alexander said, "We are bitterly disappointed at this decision and would like to apologise to the people and government of South Africa for raising their hopes". 

"We did everything in our power to bring the tournament to South Africa and we expected to have that right confirmed today," Alexander added.

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CEO of the South African Rugby Union, Jourie Roux previously revealed that "hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2023 would have an R27 billion direct, indirect and induced economic impact on South Africa; R5.7 billion would flow to low-income households; 38 600 temporary or permanent jobs would be sustained and there would be an estimated R1.4 billion tax benefit to the government."

In a statement, Cosatu alsoexpressed their disappointment. "Cosatu is disappointed about losing the World Cup, if it was going to bring jobs and development." 

Minister of Sports and Recreation, Thulas Nxesi was highly confident that South-Africa will win the host bid as he affirmed that the country has met the required standards by World Rugby and applauded the country's success in hosting the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

The bid to host 2023 Rugby World Cup has been awarded to  France.

- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE