Durban- “It's a crazy idea.”
That was the reaction of Sharks chief executive Gary Teichmann to the decision to take the 2023 Rugby World Cup (RWC) matches away from historic rugby stadiums like Kings Park to venues built for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
Teichmann said those calls were made without proper due diligence and were bound to have repercussions for the rugby fraternity.
“Implications of the move should have been first considered before major decisions were implemented,” cautioned Teichmann.
SA Rugby spokesperson Andy Colquhoun hit back at Teichmann, saying he was an “aggrieved CEO” complaining about one of eight venues that had been earmarked for the proposed 2023 World Cup.
Colquhoun said Teichmann’s views gave “more ammunition to Ireland or France”, the other countries vying to host rugby’s showpiece event. The World Rugby Council is expected to announce the host country on Wednesday.
The decision would be made after the 39 voting states, excluding the three candidate countries, cast their votes via a secret ballot. Colquhoun said the last thing South Africa needed as it waited for the announcement were people bent on criticising the bid committee over the decisions it took during the bid process.
Part of this was the use of 2010 Fifa World Cup stadiums for the tournament.
Teichmann said that from the outset, they, as rugby administrators, had always been open to negotiations. Like Teichmann, Brian van Zyl, former Sharks chief executive, was also against the decision to take rugby matches to soccer stadiums.
He told the Sunday Tribune last week it was a “no-brainer”.
Winning the bid would not only come with entertainment for rugby fans but an estimated R27 billion injection. Of this amount, Durban was poised to bank R4.5bn.
President Jacob Zuma and KZN Premier Willies Mchunu urged the country to rally behind the bid committee ahead of Wednesday’s announcement.