Radical Overhaul Pledged By Rugby Bosses

What? Surely you can't be serious? A world sports governing body taking public opinion into account in how it runs a bidding process?

Yes folks. It would seem that World Rugby is planning to do just that.

It appeared public cynicism about these matters had hit an all time high when soccer's 2022 World Cup was awarded to Qatar with the prospect of inhuman air temperatures for players and fans at the tournament and a building process not seen since the expansion of the Roman Empire looming following the decision.

Several eyebrows were raised when Russia landed the tournament also, and since those decisions, there has been a major clear out of FIFA personnel as the pesky anti corruption authorities stick their noses in.

Here in Ireland, we got a sense of how crazy that whole world is, with the Irish optimism  and then despair surrounding the latest Rugby World Cup bidding process debacle.

It would all be hilarious if there wasn't so much money involved.

TV sponsorship money, commercial partnership cash and bums on seats at the matches, not to mention the economic spinoff of thousands visting your country, means the stakes are high and competition is intense for these tournaments.

For decades no one gave a toss about the court of public opinion.

But now things appear to be changing.

Maybe its due to the 'always on' nature of the world we now live in, with so many traditional media channels and social media platforms.

It's become increasingly difficult to paper over what, to the naked eye, looks like a crazy decision.

Against this backdrop, it's emerged World Rugby is to consider a radical overhaul of the bidding process to host future World Cups that could open the door for smaller nations, such as Ireland, to stage the tournament.

Seemingly one option under consideration is to combine voting on up to three future tournaments at once, with at least one being awarded to a country for “developmental” reasons to help grow the game.

The move comes amid concerns that bids could be dominated by hosts offering the most lucrative terms in the wake of France’s shock victory over Ireland and South Africa to host the 2023 tournament in a secret ballot last November.

Ireland had been the early favourite but ended up being eliminated in the first round of the ballot.

Of course the rugby chiefs are not mugs.

They need the public to support their tournaments and need to grow the game and take it to new markets, because guess what kids, yes that means more cash for them.

So while it may be their own self preservation instincts kicking in, at least its a move in the right direction, if a little late for our hosting ambitions on this occasion.