Milton Keynes Council has set aside £135,000 to help support the 2015 Rugby World Cup, should the city be chosen as a host venue in March.
Cities up and down the country will learn next month whether or not they will be a part of the spectacle, with stadium:mk in the running to host matches alongside some of England’s most iconic rugby and football grounds.
A total of 17 stadiums are shortlisted for the World Cup and a final list of 10 to 12 will be revealed in the coming weeks, once the tournament match schedule is confirmed.
For Milton Keynes, playing a part in the Rugby World Cup would go some way to making up for the disappointment of England failing in its bid to host the 2018 football World Cup – when stadium:mk was picked to host matches.
And should Milton Keynes be named as one of the hosts for England 2015, the council has set aside funds to make the most of the event. However, while the money has been set aside as part of the council’s budget, it will not be spent if Milton Keynes is not chosen as a host city.
Of the £135,000 budgeted, £70,000 will go towards funding a ‘rugby development officer’ for three years. The officer will act as a liaison with clubs and schools, helping them get in touch with new funding schemes, competitions and helping ensure the legacy of the tournament.
A further £5,000 will be spent on building a ‘Fan Park’ in Campbell Park. For at least 10 days during the World Cup, between 5-10,000 fans will be able to enjoy the tournament in the centre of the city.
It is expected that around 30-40,000 rugby supporters will visit Milton Keynes should stadium:mk be selected, and further funding would go towards policing matches, transport and ‘city dressing’.