Welford Road fails to make the cut for the list of stadiums for the 2015 Rugby World Cup
Last Updated: 08/10/12 5:57pm
Welford Road, home of the Leicester Tigers, will not be hosting games at the 2015 Rugby World Cup
Tournament organisers have confirmed that Welford Road, home of the Leicester Tigers, will not be hosting matches at the 2015 World Cup.
However, the Olympic Stadium in East London is among the 17 listed potential venues, as are Twickenham, Wembley, the Millennium Stadium, and some of the biggest club football grounds in the country.
Welford Road is the biggest club ground in England but Gloucester's Kingsholm is the only Aviva Premiership arena on the list published by England Rugby 2015.
Leicester chairman Peter Tom said: "We are hugely disappointed to learn that Welford Road will not play a part in England's hosting of the Rugby World Cup in 2015.
"Welford Road has hosted many, many major occasions over the years. 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 it is worthy of Rugby World Cup status."
The home grounds of football sides Manchester United, Newcastle, Sunderland, Aston Villa and Southampton have all been included after expressing an interest in staging World Cup matches.
And Leicester is represented on the list by the King Power Stadium, which has a capacity of over 32,000 and, tournament organisers believe, more suitable off-field facilities than Welford Road.
List of venues:
1. Villa Park, Birmingham
2. Brighton Community Stadium, Brighton
3. Ashton Gate, Bristol
4. Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
5. Coventry Stadium, Coventry
6. Pride Park, Derby
7. Kingsholm, Gloucester
8. Elland Road, Leeds
9. Leicester City Stadium, Leicester
10. Olympic Stadium, London
11. Twickenham Stadium, London
12. Wembley Stadium, London
13. Old Trafford, Manchester
14. Stadiummk, Milton Keynes
15. St James' Park, Newcastle
16. St Mary's Stadium, Southampton
17. Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Other football grounds in the running are the Amex Stadium in Brighton, Bristol City's Ashton Gate, Pride Park in Derby, Coventry's Ricoh Arena, Elland Road in Leeds and Stadium MK.
Critics of the plans think more rugby grounds should be utilised but organisers need to sell 2.9 million tickets in order to raise the £80m they have guaranteed to the International Rugby Board.
England Rugby 2015 will confirm the final list of 10-12 venues early in the new year, once the tournament match schedule has been decided.
Andy Cosslett, England Rugby 2015 chairman, said: "Our vision for Rugby World Cup 2015 is to ensure that we take this prestigious tournament to as many parts of the country as possible, and we believe that the geographical spread of venues selected will enable us to maximise the reach of the tournament.
"We are confident that, with the venues selected, we will be able to reach our target of having up to 2.9 million tickets available, opening up the tournament to more people than ever before.
"In addition, we will be selecting further venues for training and team base camps that will ensure that the rugby community is at the very heart of Rugby World Cup 2015.
"We will now continue to work extremely closely with the venues, cities and stakeholders, including the Premier League and Football League, to plan the scheduling of matches and city hosting programmes to select a final list of up to 12 venues, which will be agreed by the early part of next year.
"The process of choosing the long list of venues was very competitive and we would like to thank the venues and cities who we have met for their full co-operation, including the venues not selected, all of whom provided us with their fulsome assistance and information required to make our selection."
Leicester chairman Peter Tom criticised the decision to scrap Welford Road from the short-list, saying: "We are hugely disappointed to learn that Welford Road will not play a part in England's hosting of the Rugby World Cup in 2015.
"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 it is worthy of Rugby World Cup status."