10 May 2017

Lifting of ban gives hope to South African sports

8:41 am on 10 May 2017

South Africa hopes to stage the 2023 Rugby World Cup after the government lifted a ban on hosting sports events.

The ban was imposed on rugby, cricket, athletics and netball last year after they failed to meet diversity targets.

Athletics is the only federation not to have its sanction lifted.

The president of South Africa Rugby Mark Alexander said South Africa can "now put the finishing touches to an outstanding bid" - France and Ireland are also in the running and a decision will be made in November.

South African rugby fans celebrate the Springboks 1995 World Cup success in South Africa.

Photo: Photosport

"This is great news and a tribute to the work that the sport has been doing in recent years to stay in tune and relevant to modern South Africa," he said.

The Springboks won the Rugby World Cup when they hosted it in 1995. South Africa staged the football World Cup in 2010 and jointly held cricket's World Cup with Zimbabwe and Kenya in 2003.

The ban was introduced as part of the country's ongoing mission to encourage more opportunities for black players and administrators.

On lifting the sanctions, Sports Minister Thulas Nxesi said: "I would like to congratulate rugby, cricket and netball on their improved scores, you were clearly willing to walk the extra mile."