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Last Updated: Friday, 14 September 2007, 11:47 GMT 12:47 UK
City's Rugby World Cup 'botched'
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Four of the tournament's matches will be played in Cardiff
A row has broken out over whether enough has been done to promote Wales during the four Rugby World Cup matches being played at the Millennium Stadium.

Cardiff Chamber of Commerce has described the marketing of the city and Wales ahead of the 2007 tournament as "a botched opportunity"

It added that it feared visitors to the matches would feel unwelcome.

But Cardiff Council and the Welsh Assembly Government say the games have formed part of marketing campaigns.

Russell Goodway, the chief executive of the chamber of commerce made his criticisms ahead of the first World Cup game in the city between Wales and Australia.

Russell Goodway outside the Millennium Stadium
This has been four years in the making and we just have not risen to the challenge
Russell Goodway, Cardiff Chamber of Commerce

Fiji will play Canada on Sunday, before Wales play Japan next Thursday and the Millennium Stadium will also host a quarter final on 6 October.

It will mean Cardiff will be the venue for more games than in many cities of the host country, France.

"I think it is a botched opportunity," said Mr Goodway, a former Labour leader of Cardiff Council.

"My fear is that we will have lots of visitors coming into the city but they won't feel welcome, they won't feel valued and I wonder whether they will want to bring another event here again.

"This has been four years in the making and we just have not risen to the challenge," he added.

But Cardiff Council, which is Liberal Democrat-led, denied it had ignored the event.

Cardiff city centre manager Paul Williams said: "We don't need to go over the top and actually cover the city from A to Z in flags and banners.

The four matches have been promoted as part of Wales' marketing campaigns
Welsh Assembly Government spokesman

"We all know the occasion. Every one of us within this city and across Wales will be looking for the good performance on Saturday, the best result for us and everybody joins in together as a nation to celebrate it."

The Welsh Assembly Government supported the council saying the games had formed part of a marketing campaign to promote Wales and Cardiff to visitors.

"Wales has a growing reputation for hosting major sporting events," said a spokesman.

"The four matches have been promoted as part of Wales' marketing campaigns.

He said Visit Wales, the assembly government's tourism arm, had been inserting World Cup messages in material for overseas markets known to have an interest in the event.

"Anecdotal evidence from the hosting of other major sporting events suggests that once people have visited Cardiff and Wales for a match they are much more likely to return for a short break or holiday with friends and family," said the spokesman.

"Hundreds of thousands of people will be visiting Wales this weekend and we are sure they will get a warm welcome and have a fantastic time."

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