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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Confirmed: No Twickenham final for World Cup

I wonder - when England won the bid for the 2010 World Cup (ahead of Germany and Kazakhstan, if not others) did those voting have visions of a final at the Home of Rugby? If so they are going to face a bit of a disappointment.

Admittedly Twickenham was not mentioned in the RFUW's bid, but even so you'd kind of expect that with the tournament taking place at grounds all within the same postcode as England's national stadium, the final of the sport's most important event would take place there. After all Edmonton dusted down their Commonwealth Stadium for the 2006 final even though qualifiers took place at smaller stadia around the city.

But no. The money men (and I bet they are all men too!) are firmly in control of rugby in England, and as the RFUW cannot guarantee to put sufficient bums on seats world rugby's most important women's game must go elsewhere.

Which is not to say that The Stoop - where the final will be - is anything other than a top quality rugby stadium, but - dammit - this is a World Cup. When cricket's women's world cup was last in England in 1993 the final was at Lord's - as it will be again next month for women's 20:20. And can you imagine, if England ever hosted soccer's women's world cup, that the final would take place anywhere other than Wembley? 

The fact that Lord's was not, and Wembley would not be, sold out would be irrelevent. Its all about status. If a sport's authorities do not believe that an event is significant enough to be given access to the game's national stadium then how the heck will it sell the event to a press (and therefore a public) that currently considers women's rugby of no importance? After all - by implication - it says that university finals, schools tournaments, inter-service games, and even the House of Lords v the House of Commons are ALL more important than women's rugby at the highest level.

Yet again rugby - when it comes to equality - demonstrates the gulf that exists between its words and its deeds, and how far it has to go to catch up with just about every other major team sport.


  1. Not having the final at Twickenham is terrible and sends so many wrong messages....has anybody got an online campaign going to change this?

  2. That would rather assume that the IRB, RFU and/or RFUW would ever actually listen to such things. Does anyone think that they ever would?


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