Sunday, October 16, 2011

If Argentina 2023 happens then Rugby is more global than soccer

It may appear hard to believe but it is true, if Argentina hosts Rugby World Cup 2023 then the sport will have done what soccer has failed to do in a period of over 90 years - have a host nation from every continent. 

The FIFA World Cup has a history dating back to 1930 while the Rugby World Cup dates back to 1987. Despite there being a difference of over half a century, the FIFA World Cup has historically not had a good record of distributing World Cup´s to host nations from a diverse set of regions. Whilst the first three Rugby World Cup´s were hosted in three different continents, the first eight FIFA World Cup´s were all hosted in either South America or Europe. 

Moreover, until the USA hosted in 1994 Mexico was the only other non-South American or European country to have hosted. The pattern is set to continue with FIFA having awarded two of the next three World Cup´s to either South America or Europe. So much is the lack of globality in Soccer host nations that by 2022 eighteen of the twenty-two World Cup´s will have been hosted in either Europe or Latin America.

By 2019 only the Americas will not have hosted a Rugby World Cup. FIFA has indeed improved greatly with the likes of Japan & South Korea, South Africa and Qatar taking the tournament to different parts of the world but should Argentina 2023 become a reality then Rugby will have hosted a World Cup in every single one of its regions, unlike FIFA. 

Both sports operate on a regional basis with regional governing bodies. FIFA is divided into six with the AFC (Asia), CAF (Africa), CONCACEF (North Amerca, Central America and the Caribbean), CONMEBOL (South America), OFC (Oceania) and UEFA (Europe). Of these regions Oceania has never hosted a World Cup. Australia recently left the Oceania region to join Asia so that it had an easier path to FIFA World Cup qualification. The country launched a bid to host in 2022 but was unsuccessful and many observers were highly critical of FIFA.

                                                         FIFA Regional Confederations

Oceania is a far more powerful player in global rugby than it is in global soccer with both Australia and New Zealand having been solo hosts for Rugby World Cup´s and the small island nations of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga being capable of competing at the highest level with two of them having played in the Quarter Finals stages of a Rugby World Cup. But this is more reason for Australia to host the FIFA World Cup, is it not? It would certainly do plenty for the sport in the region. 

Rugby, like soccer, has six regions but it is broken down to five for the purposes of Rugby World Cup´s. The regions also follow a continental pattern with FIRA-AER (Europe), FORU (Oceania), ARFU (Asia), NACRA (North American and the Caribbean), CONSUR (South America) and CAR (Africa) being very similar in make up to that of FIFA. 

The difference of the Americas in rugby is that, although the region has two separate governing bodies for north and south, they combine for Rugby World Cup Qualification and other tournaments including Rugby Sevens events. For this reason, should Argentina host Rugby World Cup 2023 it would be representing both CONSUR and NACRA and rugby is therefore in the position of being able to have a World Cup hosted in each of its regions before soccer.

1 comment:

  1. 2019 RWC would be at Japan which I read somewhere won't be considered a success financially and the IRB's current trend is swapping with France having been one and the NZ not and in 2015 in England anticipated to be. If they follow this they would need 2023 to be from one of the more established rugby population to generate greater revenue so maybe the one after that? However USA seems to want to host it in 2029 which is good for the game as well. But would love to see Argentina being involved somewhere