/ Rugby

English rugby grounds snubbed for World Cup 2015

Updated: Monday, 08 Oct 2012 11:27 | Comments

Welford Road, the biggest club rugby ground in England, is not on the list
Welford Road, the biggest club rugby ground in England, is not on the list

Welford Road, the home of Leicester Tigers and the biggest club rugby ground in England, has been axed as a potential venue for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The ground, which has been Leicester's home for 120 years, has been left off the long list of 17 stadia published by tournament organisers England Rugby 2015.

Gloucester's Kingsholm is the only Aviva Premiership rugby ground on a list that includes Twickenham, the Olympic Stadium, Wembley, the Millennium Stadium and some of the biggest club football stadia in the country.

The home grounds of Manchester United, Newcastle, Sunderland, Aston Villa and Southampton have all been included after expressing an interest in staging World Cup matches.

Outside of the Premier League, ER2015 have included the Amex Stadium in Brighton, Bristol City's Ashton Gate, Pride Park in Derby, Coventry's Ricoh Arena, Elland Road in Leeds and Stadium MK in Milton Keynes.

Leicester is still represented by the King Power Stadium, which has a capacity of over 32,000 and, tournament organisers believe, more suitable off-field facilities than Welford Road.

Critics argue the World Cup should be utilising more rugby grounds but ER2015 have to sell 2.9million tickets in order to cover the £80million guarantee owed to the International Rugby Board.

ER2015 will confirm the final list of 10-12 venues early next year, once the tournament match schedule has been formulated. The pool draw is being held on 3 December in London.

Arsenal's Emirates Stadium was in the original bid document but it does not feature on the shortlist, replaced by the Olympic Stadium.

ER2015 are in talks with the Olympic Park Legacy Company over the future use of the stadium, which has obvious attractions following the success of London 2012.

Rugby World Cup 2015 will involve 48 matches and will take place over a six-week period from September 18 to October 31 2015.

The long list of venues selected by ER 2015 and approved by the RWCL Board is as follows:

  • Villa Park, Birmingham
  • Brighton Community Stadium, Brighton
  • Ashton Gate, Bristol
  • Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
  • Coventry Stadium, Coventry
  • Pride Park, Derby
  • Kingsholm, Gloucester
  • Elland Road, Leeds
  • Leicester City Stadium, Leicester
  • Olympic Stadium, London
  • Twickenham Stadium, London
  • Wembley Stadium, London
  • Old Trafford, Manchester
  • Stadiummk, Milton Keynes
  • St James’ Park, Newcastle
  • St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton
  • Stadium of Light, Sunderland
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