Furious EP Rugby Union president Andre Rademan slammed World Rugby after its defiant members went against preferred candidates South Africa and voted for France to stage the 2023 World Cup.
Because of the decision to name South Africa as the preferred candidate, the Rugby World Cup Council had been urged by the World Cup Board to award them the hosting rights.
The members, however, ignored this, leaving hopes of South Africa staging a second World Cup shattered after a secret vote in London.
Ireland dropped out in the first round after securing only eight votes, with France taking 18 and South Africa 13.
In the second round France won 24 votes, while South Africa garnered 15.
The Olympics and Football World Cup have been marred by accusations of nefarious bidding and now rugby is enduring similar corridor assertions.
“I think it is a disgrace for rugby globally,” Rademan said.
“There was an 18-month process that this went through with an independent consultant and South Africa came out No 1 as the preferred candidate. “It then goes to a vote and we lose. “That means that the recommendations of the consultant were brushed off the table. We won it.
“That puts Word Rugby’s credibility in jeopardy.
“We are heading the same way as Fifa and the Olympic bid committee and that is why sport is in trouble today. “There is no credibility and integrity. “They can say South Africa has problems and, yes, we do admit that, but France and Ireland also have problems.
“I congratulate the bid committee for the hard work they put in for us all.
“We were the preferred candidate, but there was lobbying behind our backs. But I would also like to congratulate France.”
There had been high hopes that Port Elizabeth would stage several 2023 World Cup games at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
Mayoral spokesman Sibongile Dimbaza said: “The metro as a brand has lost out on an opportunity of hosting well over 16 000 visitors, a great opportunity for the hospitality industry because every establishment would have been fully booked.”
He said the World Cup would also have given the city tremendous exposure internationally.
Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber spokeswoman Cindy Preller said: “We are very disappointed.
“The economic impact of hosting just one Springbok game in Nelson Mandela Bay is immense, and an international competition of this nature would have been a huge boost for local businesses.”
Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism chief executive officer Mandlakazi Skefile said Grant Thornton had predicted that hosting the World Cup would have seen an economic spend of R27.3-billion in direct and indirect spend sustaining 38 600 jobs, of which some would be temporary.
“This economic impact would have been shared across seven host cities from which the [tourism] sector would have benefited.”
Mandela Bay Development Agency spokesman Luvuyo Bangazi said losing the World Cup meant the city should work harder to cement its position as a key player in international sports.
“World Cups are great – the impact is felt long after and we will miss that,” he said.
SA Rugby said it was bitterly disappointed by the decision.
“We apologise to the people and government of South Africa for raising their hopes‚” SA Rugby president Mark Alexander said.
“We did everything in our power to bring the tournament to South Africa and we expected to have that right confirmed today.
“We produced a compelling bid document that earned the unanimous recommendation of the Rugby World Cup Ltd board.
“That recommendation was questioned last week by rivals‚ but endorsed a second time by World Rugby last week.
“However‚ the view of the experts and World Rugby’s leadership was overturned by World Rugby Council members‚ who may have had other factors to take into account.
“We cannot hide our desolation but‚ for the sake of rugby, we wish the 2023 tournament hosts every success.”
SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux ruled out any suggestions that his organisation might challenge the vote. “We have said throughout that we would honour both the letter and the spirit of the process and we now consider the 2023 bidding process closed.
“However‚ in the feedback sessions I am sure we will be recommending to the World Rugby Council that the verdict of the evaluation committee becomes binding.
“World Rugby ran an exhaustive and transparent process . . . to identify the best host nation‚ only for the process to go entirely opaque for the past two weeks.”