RFU preparing England bid for 2031 World Cup
England’s Rugby Football Union has confirmed plans to submit a bid to host the 2031 World Cup.
World Rugby, the international governing body for rugby union, is expected to vote on the host nations for the 2027 and 2031 tournaments next May with candidates due to formally submit bids by January.
Australia are considered favourites to land the 2027 World Cup but will face competition from Russia, while the USA is also interested in bidding for either edition.
The RFU had explored a joint UK and Ireland bid but talks with the other home nations are believed to have stalled due to a failure to reach a consensus over where the final would be staged.
The English body is now preparing a solo bid and plans to hold talks with the government to get the necessary backing to progress the bid.
England last hosted the World Cup in 2015, while it jointly staged the event with France, Ireland, Scotland and Wales back in 1991.
The plan was outlined by the RFU’s new chairman Tom Ilube, who said: “We would like to bid for that – the 2031 World Cup. That would be really exciting to have it here and you could imagine what it would be like and I think that really gives us a focus as well.
“So we will see what happens, it will be interesting. It is something that we are really interested in discussing and engaging with the process.”
Ilube was appointed in March and began the role in August, becoming the first black chairman of a national sporting organisation.
World Rugby's next major events are the women's Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, which was delayed from this year to 2022, and the men's edition in France in 2023.
The last World Cup was hosted by Japan in 2019, the first staged in Asia.
Meanwhile, Rugby Union has become the latest sport to explore the idea of staging its showpiece World Cup every two years, with Alan Gilpin, the World Rugby chief executive, admitting it is an "interesting concept".
However, Gilpin stressed that all stakeholders would have to agree to it before being considered.
A potential biennial World Cup was among the topics discussed by Gilpin, World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont and Claude Atcher, the chief executive of the organising committee for France 2023, in Paris this week.
The discussions come in the wake of Fifa, soccer’s world governing body, considering a World Cup every two years, with its congress voting to carry out a feasibility study on the proposal.
Gilpin told the Telegraph: "Biennial World Cups have been considered before and they're definitely something that we will continue to consider.
"It's an interesting concept, especially when you think about the global development of the women's game too.
"But the men's calendar is very congested and complex, with a lot of different stakeholders, and we have to make sure we engage with them all before we consider a World Cup every two years."
Fifa’s proposal has caused a huge stir with leagues, federations and continental governing bodies – including the likes of Uefa and the International Olympic Committee – coming out in opposition to the idea.