Rugby World Cup bid for Portman Road

PORTMAN Road will be used in the 2015 Rugby World Cup if Blues chief executive Simon Clegg gets his way.

Derek Davis

By Derek Davis

PORTMAN Road will be used in the 2015 Rugby World Cup if Blues chief executive Simon Clegg gets his way.

The 30,000-seater home of Ipswich Town ha so far been overlooked in the RFU's planning, even though its president Brian Williams lives in Suffolk, but newly installed CEO Clegg is not taken that lying down.


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He sees no good reason why Portman Road can't host a group stage match and intends to canvass the RFU.

Clegg said: “We don't have big rugby teams in this part of the country although there is a big rugby interest in the area.

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“I hope I can engage with Francis Baron and other people to encourage them to look at Ipswich Town.”

The bid to host the 2015 tournament was launched last week with the RFU looking to hold matches in places as far apart as Newcastle, Cardiff and Southampton, and even in a stadiums that have yet to be built, for example Bristol, but have thus far ignored the East Anglian region where Ipswich would comfortably fill the gap

Clegg has vowed to use his influence and contacts to make sure Portman Road and surrounding facilities, are used by any world cup or Olympic

He said: “I have a responsibility across many different spectrums to promote Ipswich and Suffolk in any way I can.

But the Suffolk club's close proximity to Stratford, could work against the Blues when it comes to the 2012 London Olympics.

As the former chief executive of the British Olympic Committee Clegg is well aware of why Town may not figure as a venue for the 2012 Games

He said: “The football competition in the Olympic Games is the one event you have that you can take and event around the country and thereby engage with the rest of the country.

“One of the downsides we suffer from in Suffolk is we are relatively close to the epicentre of the Olympics in 2012 in terms of Stratford. We also have Wembley on the north side of London.

“So while it doesn't sit comfortably with me in my new position I can understand the rationale whereby they felt a greater need to take the football competition to more far flung areas.”

derek.davis@eadt.co.uk

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