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Leicester shocked at Rugby World Cup venue snub


Welford Road has been overlooked for the 2015 Rugby World Cup

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Article Published: Monday 8 October 2012


Aviva Premiership Rugby Club Leicester Tigers chairman Peter Tom CBE has reacted with surprise and disappointment after Rugby World Cup 2015 organisers snubbed Welford Road.

Instead of using the established rugby ground of Welford Road event organisers England Rugby 2015 (ER 2015) decided to use Leicester City's larger football ground and said that the pitch size at Welford Road was a concern.

Mr Tom said: "We are hugely disappointed to learn that Welford Road will not play a part in Englandís hosting of the Rugby World Cup in 2015."

"When the International Rugby Board awarded the Rugby World Cup to the country that gave this sport to the world we saw this as an opportunity to celebrate the international game and also the professional club game here. Leicester Tigers wanted to be part of that.

"Welford Road has hosted many, many major occasions over the years, including visits from South Africa, Australia and Argentina national teams in recent seasons. It is home to the best-supported and most successful club in the history of the professional game in this country and, as such, we believe is worthy of Rugby World Cup status.

"Leicester Tigers has always been a forward-thinking and progressive club, and has played an important role in the development and promotion of the game in this country."

"Who can forget that both head coach and captain of Englandís World Cup-winning team in 2003, and several other members of the squad and backroom staff, spent major parts of their own careers in Leicester colours? "

"The current England squad also contains a sizeable number of Leicester players, many of whom have been introduced to the sport as fans at Welford Road and have come through the clubís Academy structure to first-team and then international honours.

"It is that kind of heritage and dedication to the development of the game that makes the name of Leicester Tigers and Welford Road stadium known throughout the rugby-playing world.

"Welford Road is the largest designated club rugby stadium in England, an iconic home of the sport in this country and home to the most successful club in the history of a thriving, competitive and successful league structure yet it will not be at the table when it comes to hosting a global rugby event in this country.

"That the organisers of RWC2015 do not think this an appropriate venue for its fixtures is disappointing and confusing both for the professional club game in this country and for its supporters.

"Leicester Tigers has the largest community of rugby supporters of any club in the country and the club invested £15million in building the new Caterpillar Stand in 2009 to take Welford Road's capacity up to 24,000. "

"A programme of development will continue to improve facilities and the matchday experience for players, supporters and corporate guests. It is disappointing that this investment is not rewarded with World Cup status while many other venues on the proposed list do not show that level of commitment to our sport.

"We wish all of the Leicester Tigers players who will be representing their national teams at RWC2015 every success in it."

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