Derry took one step towards staging part of the 2023 Rugby World Cup after Ireland’s bid to host the competition reached the next phase.
Ireland’s bid includes a list of 12 possible stadia where games could take place and Celtic Park in the Brandywell is one of them.
The selection process will run from now until November 2017, when World Rugby will decide on the successful candidate to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup. During that period a detailed technical evaluation of the candidates will take place, with final proposals being submitted in June and a presentation to World Rugby scheduled for October.
It is estimated that a successful bid would be worth more than €800 million to the Irish economy and some 445,000 people would visit here.
Deputy First Minister and Sinn Fein MLA for Foyle, Martin McGuinness, attended the official announcement of Ireland reaching the next stage in the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Tuesday.
“The 2023 Rugby World Cup bid is a bid for all the people of Ireland and the Executive will make every effort to make it a winning bid,” said Mr. McGuinness.
“We have a proven track record of hosting major global events including the G8, Giro d’Italia, MTV Music Awards, the World Police and Fire Games, the Clipper round the World Yacht Race and the Irish Open Golf Championship.”
MP for Foyle, Mark Durkan, said he was “delighted” to see Celtic Park included in the list of 12 possible venues that could stage Rugby World Cup games.
“I am delighted that Celtic Park has been included in this shortlist. Derry has always been a sporting city and I firmly believe that, if the Irish bid proves successful, we will make great hosts for pool matches at the Rugby World Cup,” he said.
“A tournament of this size and standing would also offer significant economic and tourism spin-off. It is also important to add that making use of stadiums across the entire country will ensure that this can be a truly national event.”
Mr. Durkan added: ““I also hope the inclusion of Celtic Park in this shortlist will add momentum to the exciting plans developed by City of Derry Rugby Club to create a world-class facility at Judges Road.
“Their ambition is to develop a facility which can host a team for the entire tournament. In light of this announcement I would urge the Executive to back their plans.”