This week rugby fans all over the world had to hear that two matches of the pool games scheduled for the weekend had to be cancelled due to super typhoon Hagibis making landfall in Japan on Saturday. This is a scenario of the unimaginable happening for it is the first time in 32 years that any matches had to be cancelled during the tournament. This entire scenario is not only very disruptive in the competition but is also shading World Rugby in a dense cloud of embarrassment and possibly some serious financial implications.
World Rugby Embarrassed
Two severe questions concerning World Rugby has surfaced due to this event. The first one is why did they schedule the international in development taking place in Japan in the middle of their typhoon season. Japan being hit by typhoons during this time of the year is no extraordinary event, and when the bid was rewarded to Japan, this should have been taken into consideration when the dates were set. The second question is even more embarrassing, since if you schedule an international event during typhoon season, then one would expect that you would have a safe location on back up if needed and this is not the case at the moment, thus the cancellation of the two matches.
Possibly More Matches to be Cancelled
Currently, only two matches have been cancelled. These two would have taken place on Saturday when the typhoon makes landfall. The games scheduled for Sunday is still set to proceed at the moment. However, it needs to be kept in consideration that a category five typhoon is hitting the city and the possibility of experiencing structural damage is possible. Thus even though the stiff winds might have passed on Sunday, these matches might also have to be cancelled due to potential structural damage causing safety concerns.
The Financial Implication
Except for the roughly 200 000 match tickets which must be refunded now by World Rugby, they also have to face the consequences if broadcasters who are committed to these matches demand compensation for lost income due to the cancelled games. Especially of Sunday’s game between the host country and Scotland would also be cancelled, there will most definitely be severe financial implications for World Rugby. Currently, it is estimated that this game will have record viewer numbers, creating a very profitable income through advertising which might all be cancelled.
The Implications for Teams
Currently, the possibility exists that three of the four teams in the quarter-finals might not be able to play. This is causing significant implications for the integrity of the tournament. The situation boils down to these teams not necessarily deserving of the position in which they have ended up in and that another group might be more deserving of a place in the playoffs. Also, the team of Japan would be receiving a massive blow in the tournament if their match against Scotland won’t be able to go ahead.