MK still waiting on Rugby World Cup decision

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MK Dons are still waiting to learn whether or not stadium:mk will host Rugby World Cup matches in autumn 2015 because organisers continue to battle with venue problems.

A decision on which 12 stadiums are to be used to stage some of the 48 tournament matches was expected in March, after an initial long list of 17 venues, including stadium:mk, was first revealed last October.

However, problems continue to mount for organisers, with Manchester United pulling out of hosting games at Old Trafford, and Manchester City reportedly only prepared to host one of the fixtures snubbed by their rivals last week.

That has dealt a blow to organisers’ hopes of selling the 2.9 million tickets required to fulfil the £80 million revenue pledge made to the International Rugby Board.

It is understood England 2015 will not ask the IRB for more time to submit its final list of venues, having already been granted an extension to the March 15 deadline.

That was to give organisers every opportunity to agree a deal for the Olympic Stadium to be included, something that appears even more imperative following the snub by United, with the 75,000-seat Old Trafford having been earmarked for at least three matches.

With the 48,000-capacity Etihad Stadium taking just one fixture, England 2015 must decide whether it can afford to maintain the number of games it had originally planned to stage in the north by using grounds such as St James’ Park, the Stadium of Light and Elland Road.

The only venues in the country bigger than Old Trafford are all in London or Wales, in the shape of Twickenham, Wembley and the Millennium Stadium.

The final list and match schedule is now expected by the end of April. It’s understood Milton Keynes is likely to be awarded three matches, to be played between late September and early October.