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Italy targeting 2023 Rugby World Cup in bold bidding drive

Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) president Alfredo Gavazzi has said a bid is being prepared for the 2023 Rugby World Cup as part of a strategy in which Italy is also targeting the 2024 Olympic Games and the 2022 edition of golf showpiece the Ryder Cup.

Gavazzi said Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) president Giovanni Malago are supporting the bids, which are planned to be rounded off by the Catholic Jubilee in 2025.

“We have reached an agreement with CONI and we have the endorsement of the Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi,” Gavazzi said, according to the Reuters news agency. “This World Cup could become a cocktail for our country, before the Olympic Games of 2024 and the Catholic Jubilee of 2025. We are working to have common locations with those events.

“We need about eight stadiums, placed along all the Italian territory, from north to south. We very much like the idea, because it would give us a chance to modernise eight stadiums.”

The 2015 World Cup will be staged in England before travelling to Japan in 2019. Gavazzi said a FIR bid could also include co-hosting with another country. “Some locations will be unavoidable, like Rome, Milan, Padova and one city of the south at least,” Gavazzi added. “It would even be possible that one qualification round could be played abroad.”

Rome last hosted the Olympics in 1960 and has been strongly linked with a return to the bidding fray as one of the possible contenders for the 2024 Games. The capital was in contention to host the 2020 Olympic Games only for the city to be forced to drop its bid after having failed to secure the support of the Italian government. Mario Monti, Prime Minister at the time, announced that it would be irresponsible for the government to provide the financial guarantees necessary for the IOC to consider the bid in the midst of the country’s economic crisis.

Italy is facing competition from Austria, Germany, Portugal, Spain and Turkey to host the 2022 Ryder Cup. Event officials will undertake inspections of each potential host venue before the end of the year. Official bids must be submitted by February 16 before the Ryder Cup Europe body selects the host nation in autumn 2015.