Rugby world cup in Gloucester marketing row breaks out

The way the 2015 Rugby World Cup has been marketed as a "Cotswolds" event has been criticised by fans of Gloucester Rugby.

Organisations which promote business and tourism in the county want the area to be included in its marketing campaign.

Some fans say the sport is synonymous with the city of Gloucester, and has nothing to do with the wider county.

Four world cup matches will be played at Gloucester's Kingsholm stadium.

Tim Holder, who runs the fans' website Gloucester Matches, said he was "disappointed" that commercialism was overshadowing the event.

"We can't expect people in the Cotswolds to have as much enthusiasm as Gloucester supporters," he said.

'Great opportunity'

Jeremy Brinkworth from Visit England, which is marketing the world cup, said: "The games are happening in Gloucester which will really benefit the pubs and the restaurants.

"For fans from the UK and internationally they will be following their teams, and there are several days in between each game.

"They will want to have a programme of suggestions of things to do in between those games. That's where the Cotswolds comes in."

David Owen from Gloucestershire First, which promotes business and tourism in the county, said: "On the back of the world cup being here there's a great opportunity for the whole of the county to get rugby fans into Gloucestershire, to get them spending their money and improving our tourism industry."

Mr Holder said local rugby should get a fair share of any money being ploughed into the county.

"Gloucester rugby has put an awful lot of work in [in securing Kingsholm as a world cup venue] and they should be getting a fair bit from it, and so should local rugby.

'Bandwagon jumping'

"I would hate to think we're going to get neglected with the spend from the rugby [world cup].

Another Gloucester fan, Dave Bunting, said: "Gloucester Rugby [season] runs for eight months in the winter.

"We don't hear a thing from Visit England or Gloucestershire First.

"They don't really want to know about Gloucester Rugby and this is purely bandwagon jumping."

Argentina, Tonga and Scotland will play matches at Kingsholm in 2015. Other nations that could play there include the USA, Canada and Japan.

A Gloucester rugby club spokesman said: "It's still very early in the process so we're not in a position at this point to comment in detail on the possible nature of the impact of World Cup rugby coming to Gloucester.

"The matches to be played at Kingsholm will understandably be the focus at that time, but it is hoped and expected that the associated benefits will be significant for Gloucester Rugby, the city, the county and surrounding areas."

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