Saturday, March 12, 2011

Rugby World Cup No Go For Christchurch

The government, Canterbury and rugby fans need to face a harsh reality: there's just no way Christchurch can host Rugby World Cup matches.
Even if AMI Stadium could be repaired in time, the city itself is too unsafe for the International Rugby Board (IRB) to send teams and thousands of fans there. Sucky though it is for the Canterbury region (which needs every cent of financial support it can get), it's impossible to guarantee there won't be another überquake.
Prime Minister John Key says no decisions have been made yet, and Rugby World Cup Minister Muddling McCully awaits engineering reports on the stadium damage this weekend.
Chch is supposed to be hosting five pool matches and two quarter-finals, but I feel the IRB must move those seven games elsewhere in NZ. That decison better come pronto, Johnny: teams and tourists scheduled to stay in Christchurch are in limbo, waiting to see if the city is able to host the tournament...and if their hotels will still be standing!
Civil Defence announced just yesterday that the 27-storey Hotel Grand Chancellor in Chch will definitely be demolished (so say goodbye to those 176 rooms).
Hell, I'm no expert/fan of rugby, but even I could see that before the quake the city didn't have enough beds to meet demand. Now the challenge is insurmountable. I'm rather surprised the speculation (even talk of using cruise ships as accomodation) has continued over these past few weeks since the quake.
I know the battered and bruised people of Christchurch need all the morale-boosting we can give them, but to keep on dangling this particular carrot in front of them is - to me - cruel.
PS: 16 March 2011 - As I predicted, it's officially "game over" for Christchurch.

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