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Italy drops out of race to host 2023 Rugby World Cup

The Federazione Italiana Rugby (FIR), the governing body of rugby union in Italy, has withdrawn its bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Italy was one of four countries that submitted an application to the World Rugby global governing body by a deadline of September 1, along with France, Ireland and South Africa.

A World Rugby Technical Review Group has already begun analysing each of the bids, with applicants that meet the criteria to progress to the candidate phase on November 1. However, Italy’s bid will go no further in the process after it was officially withdrawn last night (Wednesday).

“While it is disappointing that the FIR feels unable to proceed, World Rugby fully understands the decision and hopes to see Italy join the process for future Rugby World Cup hosting,” World Rugby said in a statement.

France, Ireland and South Africa all remain in the process and will be informed of the status of their bids ahead of the next stage. World Rugby will announce the host nation in November next year.

The most recent edition of the Rugby World Cup took place in England in 2015, with New Zealand winning the tournament for a record third time after beating Australia 34-17 in the final. Japan will host the next World Cup in 2019.