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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rugby World Cup 2011 festival for Christchurch

Rugby World Cup 2011 festival for Christchurch

16 March 2011

Christchurch City Council will push ahead with plans to hold a Rugby World Cup 2011 (RWC 2011) festival for the city, despite the announcement that no matches would be held in Christchurch.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker says it is disappointing that the city will miss out on the two quarter-finals and five pool matches planned for September and October this year, but that doesn’t mean we have to miss out entirely.

“Obviously, we were hopeful that matches would still go ahead in the city, despite the damage caused by the 22 February earthquake. I remain confident that we could pull it off, however I acknowledge that the International Rugby Board (IRB) had a difficult decision to make. This is a hugely important international event for New Zealand and we accept that the tough decision had to be made for the good of the Tournament and the country.”

Mayor Parker said that planning was already underway to develop an exciting RWC 2011 Fanzone in Christchurch, which would include large screens for some matches, entertainment and hospitality.

“What we are looking at is a RWC 2011 festival for Christchurch. It will be a place for people to come together to watch the matches and enjoy other entertainment.

“And it won’t just be about Rugby. We’ll have hospitality and entertainment options that our residents can enjoy. This will be a great alternative for people who are currently missing out because access to our CBD is limited.

“Christchurch people have been through a lot in the past few months and they deserve to have an uplifting event like this to look forward to.

“Planning is still in the very early stages and we will be able to reveal more details as they are confirmed. I think this will be an exciting event for our city and one that our residents will really enjoy later this year, despite the fact that we will no longer host any matches.”

IRB officials were in Christchurch today to announce the decision on the future of RWC 2011 matches in the city. Christchurch’s two quarter-finals would be shifted to Auckland while final decisions were still being made on the locations of the five pool matches.

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