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Last Updated:  Thursday, 10 April, 2003, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
France to host 2007 World Cup
RUGBY WORLD CUP 2007
France secured 18 of the possible 21 votes
France won by a landslide
France have beaten England for the right to stage the 2007 Rugby World Cup, the International Rugby Board (IRB) has announced.

France won all but three of the possible 21 IRB votes at a meeting in Dublin on Thursday.

England's attempt to introduce a Nations Cup for emerging countries did not find favour, with the IRB Council opting to preserve the existing format.

But under the French bid, Wales, Scotland and Ireland will be allocated a pool each during the tournament.

Referring to England's proposal for a reduced 16-team format IRB chairman, Syd Millar, said: "The council was overwhelmingly of the view that the structure should remain as it is."

The tournament will take place between 7 September and 20 October, 2007.

France have opted for a traditional format with 20 teams divided into four pools.

KEY FACTS
20-team format
48 matches between 7 Sept-20 Oct
Wales, Scotland and Ireland three first-round matches each, with a quarter-final in the Millennium Stadium
French stadia: Marseille, Montpellier, Toulouse, Lens, St Etienne, Lyon, the Stade de France and Parc des Princes
The top two from each pool will qualify for the quarter-finals.

In contrast, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) proposed that 16 teams would contest the tournament, while another 20 would compete in a new Nations Cup competition

A Super Eight pool stage, similar to the Super Sixes at this year's Cricket World Cup, would have replaced knockout quarter-finals in an effort to give more exposure to the top sides.

Both countries made individual bids after general agreement that the tournaments in 1991 (hosted by England) and 1999 (Wales) were too unwieldy because games were staged throughout Britain, Ireland and France.

England and France subsequently made compromises in an effort to woo votes from the 21 council members.

It's staggering slap in the face for the RFU
BBC rugby union correspondent Ian Robertson

England's claim that their bid would generate 100m for the game was dismissed by the FFR who said that a likely 40% rise on the 1999 competition's ticket price was exaggerated.

The FFR said their own project would bring in around 50m.

This year's World Cup in Australia runs from 10 October to 22 November.




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Ian Robertson
"Huge humiliation for England"


RFU chief executive Francis Baron
"We felt we had an excellent bid on the table"


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