Rugby World Cup 2015
Olympic Stadium set for central World Cup role
ESPN Staff
April 25, 2013
A general view across the Olympic Stadium, Olympic Park, London, September 7, 2012
The deabte over the long-term future of the Olympic Stadium has only recently been resolved © Getty Images

England Rugby 2015 (ER 2015), the organisers of the next World Cup, hopes to stage as many as five games at the Olympic Stadium.

RWC'15 Venues Long List

  • 1. Villa Park, Birmingham
  • 2. Brighton Community Stadium, Brighton
  • 3. Sandy Park, Exeter*
  • 4. Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
  • 5. Coventry Stadium, Coventry
  • 6. Pride Park, Derby
  • 7. Kingsholm, Gloucester
  • 8. Elland Road, Leeds
  • 9. Leicester City Stadium, Leicester
  • 10. Olympic Stadium, London
  • 11. Twickenham Stadium, London
  • 12. Wembley Stadium, London
  • 13. Old Trafford, Manchester**
  • 14. Stadiummk, Milton Keynes
  • 15. St James' Park, Newcastle
  • 16. St Mary's Stadium, Southampton
  • 17. Stadium of Light, Sunderland
  • *Replaced the original choice of Ashton Gate, Bristol, **Withdrawn from selection process

The iconic stadium, that was the centrepiece of London 2012, is reportedly set to play a central role in the match schedule by hosting to at least three pool games and a knock-out fixture - most likely a quarter-final, according to The Daily Telegraph.

ER 2015 have long had their eyes on the Olympic Stadium and last month were granted more time to finalise their venue selection by Rugby World Cup Ltd (RWCL) with the debate over the long-term use of the venue and its possible inclusion only recently resolved.

Organisers are under increasing pressure to secure 12 venues that will make it possible for them to sell their target of 2.9m tickets and recoup the £80m hosting fee. They also hope to generate a significant profit to fuel the growth of the game in England but to do this they must sell an average 60,000 seats for every game in the 48-match schedule.

However, following the recent withdrawal of Manchester United FC's 75,811-capacity Old Trafford ground from the venue mix, with Manchester City FC's 60,000-seater Etihad Stadium set to fill the void, only three potential venues remaining on the 16-stadium long list - Twickenham, the Millennium Stadium and Wembley - have a capacity larger than 60,000.

The Olympic Stadium will have a minimum guaranteed capacity of 56,000 following the construction work required to make it viable for the new tenants - West Ham FC. It could seat as many as 62,000 if enough of the £150m revamp of the venue is complete in time.

England 2015 refused to comment when approached by the newspaper although a spokes-person said: "We have submitted a proposed schedule to the IRB but, until it is approved, nothing is confirmed or finalised."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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