Rugby World Cup host jeopardised by quake damage

The ability to host Rugby World Cup matches has been threatened by public liability insurance issues caused by quake damage done to one major New Zealand city.

Public liability clearance issues could prevent quake-ravaged Christchurch’s AMI Stadium from keeping its hosting rights despite the current flurry of activity to repair damaged infrastructure.  However Bob Parker, mayor of Christchurch has given assurances that the stadium will be sufficiently sturdy to play host to cup games.

Despite Mayor Parker’s words, laser-equipped engineers are scheduled to visit the stadium in order to make a more scientifically precise assessment of any damage the building may have sustained in the quake.  It is their findings that will determine if any repairs will need to be made in order to avoid any professional indemnity pitfalls. The report will also be significant in acting as a strong influence on insurers’ decisions on whether to continue to insure the stadium in the future – and how expensive that insurance will be.

The Sunday Star-Times (New Zealand) was recently told that insurance experts would inevitably institute a large rate hike even if the stadium was given a clean bill of health by the engineers’ report.

Murray McCully, minister for the Rugby World Cup, recently visited the stadium for a first hand damage inspection.  Mr McCully stated that work on infrastructure and accommodation dilemmas would only begin once the engineers’ report was complete.

International Rugby Board subsidiary Rugby World Cup Ltd will make the final decision on the fate of AMI Stadium.  Mike Miller, RWC chief executive, has been in phone contact from Dublin with Mr McCully in order to remain updated.

While Mr McCully had no comment on the substance of the talks, he did say that there is no one within the organisation that wished to use the damage to the stadium as an excuse to change venues.

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