Ireland’s hopes of hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup have been boosted
Italy withdrew their bid to host the tournament on Wednesday
The move follows Rome’s decision not to bid for the 2024 Olympics
Italy withdrew from the race to host the 2023 rugby World Cup on Wednesday, one week after Rome’s bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games was effectively scuppered when the city government withdrew its support.
The announcement leaves France, South Africa and Ireland as the three countries bidding to host the tournament.
The Italian rugby federation (FIR) said the two bids had been closely linked and it was not possible to carry on.
“Our candidature was strictly connected to the Olympic bid,” said Italian Rugby Federation president Alfredo Gavazzi.
“As agreed with the government and Olympic committee, we can’t provide necessary commitments to move forward.”
He added: “We remain convinced of the strength of our bid and are well aware of the benefits that hosting the Rugby World Cup would have brought to Italy.
“We’re conscious about losing a fantastic chance to promote our values and our sport in our country, but we must sadly accept that we can no longer move forward with our bid.”
Ireland formally announced their bid in December 2014 and a final decision on the hosts will be made in November next year.