The Australian Olympic Association is hoping to get some of its bid venues into the Olympic Games this year after the Australian Government decided to scrap its long-standing commitment to hosting the 2020 Sydney Olympics.
Under the new government’s proposal, the Commonwealth Games would be the first in the world to be held in the country, but the AOA said it would still have to get the funding for the venues from overseas, which would require some extra money.
“We are hopeful the Australian taxpayer will continue to provide the Commonwealth with funding to support the construction and operation of the venues, as well as to support future Olympic development and participation in the Commonwealth Sport and Events Centres,” the AOCA said in a statement on Thursday.
It is understood the government is still seeking to increase the funding it gives to the AOA from $7.5 million in the 2017-18 financial year to $12 million in 2020-21, although the AOSA is confident the government will still come through on its commitments.
The government has been working on a new proposal for the Commonwealth, which is due to be finalised next week, and is expected to be presented to the Senate in the coming days.
In a separate development, the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) has confirmed that it is to expand its World Cup-qualifying squad in 2020, bringing in a number of experienced players to bolster the squad that has finished eighth in the Rugby Championship this year.
The announcement comes as the Rugby Football Union (RFU) is considering a similar plan, with a number playing in the 2019 World Cup and a number in the 2018 and 2019 tournaments.
It will be a challenge for the RFU to win World Cup qualification, but could prove a major boost to the national squad.
The RFU’s World Cup squad has already seen players such as Paul Hamilton, Ben Franks, James Hook and Luke Fitzgerald step up in recent seasons, and with a new squad likely to be created from scratch, it is unlikely to be a short-term issue.
However, the Rugby League World Cup Qualifier in Japan is also likely to become a factor in the selection of players for the Rugby Australia World Cup qualifiers, with the RFG’s squad in that competition already expected to field some of the best young talent in the sport.
The Rugby League International Cup is also expected to take place at a World Cup qualifier in the near future, and it is understood that the competition could see a number more players playing for the All Blacks in the next World Cup.
It is also believed that the Rugby World Cup will see players from the All Black and Wallabies squads in Japan, and the All Whites, Wallabies and Toulon could be part of the Rugby Sevens squad.
Rugby Australia has also confirmed that two of its marquee players will return from injury this year, with Tomás Ognenová and Dane Coles both expected to return for the 2019 Rugby Seven of Nations.
Meanwhile, the All Stars squad, which will be based in Queensland, has also been confirmed to include some key players from last year’s Rugby World Cups, including flanker Paul Gallen, lock Lachlan Fitzsimmons, hooker Ryan Crotty and loose forwards Matt McIlwrick and Sam Cane.
And with the Rugby Union World Cup taking place in England in June, the AOF has also added its World Series qualification fixture, which takes place in Sydney in June 2019.