LIMERICK, THE EUROPEAN city of sport, today launched a bid to become a host city for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.
The group, consisting of Shannon Development and the Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau, alongside Rugby League Ireland and Thomond Park, hope to be successful.
Stadiums and cities that want to particiapte in the World Cup must declare their interest by this Friday, 15 July.
Ireland have some high-profile matches in the 2013 tournament, being drawn in the same group as England, Australia and Fiji. Those promoting Thomond Park as a host venue would hope to secure either the Ireland v Australia, or Ireland v Fiji game in the home of Munster Rugby.
The Limerick venue is no stranger to world cups having hosted the USA v Australia pool game in 1999 rugby union event. The 26,000 capacity stadium will be an attractive prospect with organisers, having a reputation in rugby circles around the world.
Other stadiums competing to host games include the KC Stadium in Hull, Headingley in Leeds, the DW Stadium in Wigan, the Madejski in Reading and the new Halliwell Jones stadium in Warrington.
It is expected that Old Trafford, Wembley and London’s Olympic Stadium will bid to host the final. The winning bids will be announced in October 2011.
Speaking at the ‘Back the Bid – Limerick 2013’ launch, Gordon Matthews, Rugby League Ireland general manager, explained, “Ireland had a very successful 2008 World Cup in Australia and we are hoping to build on that success further in 2013, preferably with the help of some passionate home support.
“We are in a position to put forward an impressive case to the organising committee to play one or more of our group games in Limerick and specifically Thomond Park. The boost to Rugby League in Ireland to potentially host the likes of Australia or Fiji in a venue such as Thomond Park would be enormous and we are very hopeful that our bid will be successful.”
A World Cup game alone could be worth in excess of €2 million to the region. ”Bidding for such an event in this special year when Limericks reigns as “European City of Sport” only helps to re-enforce Limericks status as a sporting city of merit,” Paul Ryan of Shannon Development explained.
The Rugby League World Cup organisers will begin visiting the bidding sites after this Friday’s deadline. They will be meet by the Limerick Bid Committee headed up by Adam Skerritt, Shannon Development and Karen Brosnahan, Shannon Region Conference & Sports Bureau, who will make oral presentation.
Those wishing to support the campaign to secure Limerick’s status as a host city can do so at the ‘Back the Bid – Limerick 2013’ Facebook page.