‘$50m boost for Fiji’

Winners pose with Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama at the FRU awards night at Sheraton Fiji Resort & Spa, Denarau in Nadi on Friday night. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

Winners pose with Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama at the FRU awards night at Sheraton Fiji Resort & Spa, Denarau in Nadi on Friday night. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

FIJI Rugby Union expects an overall economic benefit of $50m per annum if the country wins the bid to host a leg of HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

Details of Fiji’s bid to host a tournament in the 2019-2020 edition were announced by Prime Minister and president of FRU Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama during the FRU annual awards and gala dinner at the Sheraton Resort in Nadi on Friday.

In his address Bainimarama said: “When I announced, at the dinner held on August 11 last year to celebrate the anniversary of our Fiji 7s team’s historic gold medal at the Rio Olympics, that Fiji Rugby would be bidding for a leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, I said we would pull out all stops to do whatever was required to build the infrastructure to host the event.

“Since that time, FRU and its consultants have worked tirelessly to present in preparing our proposal,” he said.

“We have the players, we have the fans and we have the ability to stage international events. My Government is fully committed to making this happen.

“Now it is time for the sevens series to return to its spiritual home, to allow our people to see our players on home turf, playing the best in the world.

“Fiji for 7s, it’s time.”

Nadi’s Prince Charles Park has been identified as the venue to host the tournament dubbed as the “Field of Dreams” with major renovations to be carried out.

FRU’s bid outlines plans to mount a unique and successful leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and demonstrates clearly that the country is ready and able to take its place on the HSBC circuit.

FRU chairman Commander Francis Kean said they had left no stones unturned in the preparation of for the bid.

“The leaders of our bid team Brian Thorburn and Greg Peters, put together a very credible and compelling proposal,” he said.

“This event provides a unique opportunity for Fiji rugby that will have long-term legacy benefits, not only for rugby, but for the country as a whole.

“We estimate the overall economic benefit of a tournament in Fiji to be $50m per annum.

“We intend to involve the rugby family in the delivery of the event through utilising a large number of volunteers to fulfil a number of key roles required to bring this tournament to life.

“The proposed developments to Prince Charles Park will result in 20,000 capacity but, to coin a phrase, we believe we will in reality deliver a ‘stadium of one million’ proud Fijians with the whole country behind the event.”

FRU chief executive officer, John O’Connor said the bid was lodged with World Rugby on February 28.

“We have already hosted two visits from World Rugby personnel with respect to the details of our proposal,” O’Conner said.

“Whilst we believe we have ticked all the boxes, there is much work to be completed to deliver the infrastructure.

“We are not waiting for World Rugby’s decision to start this work.

“We have already started. World Rugby will make its decision on the hosts for tournaments in the HSBC 7s World Series in June so we will know the final outcome then.”