'Everything is under control': Jacques Rivoal, president of the 2023 Rugby World Cup organising committee / © AFP
"All the signals are green" for the Rugby World Cup in France, organising committee president Jacques Rivoal told AFP in an interview, adding that he anticipated record profits.
The World Cup board met Thursday and approved a budget which foresees profits of 45-50 million euros ($49-54.5 million).
"We will be above the best that has been achieved in terms of financial results. It will be redistributed to French rugby," Rivoal said.
"Our benchmarks are the 2015 World Cup in England, where the context was quite similar, and 2007 in France. In both cases, the profits were around 36 million euros."
The numbers are below the original forecast.
"There is a figure that has been circulating, around 65 million, but it dates from the filing of the bid."
"You start seven years out but 69 per cent of the expenses come in the last year. We had to update the figures," Rivoal said adding that the initial budget did not include an apprentice training centre and an endowment fund.
He said inflation had added "around 7 million more" to the bill.
Hosts France kick off the World Cup against New Zealand at Stade de France in Paris on September 8.
"There is a lot of excitement," he said. "All the signals are pretty much on green, everything is under control."
Rivoal said he was focussed on the World Cup legacy.
- 'Sporting emotion' -
"Organising a World Cup is not just about organising 48 matches, hosting 20 teams, welcoming 600,000 foreign visitors," he said.
"We want to reflect on our raison d'être. How can we contribute - in a modest way - to solving society's current problems?"
"We have identified four major areas," he said.
"The sustainable and circular economy; training, employment and education; protecting the environment; inclusion and the fight against discrimination. We want to build a budget that will take care of these societal issues."
"A major sporting event like the World Cup must demonstrate that it can contribute to protecting the environment," Rivoal said, adding: "We will welcome 600,000 foreign visitors, which will not be (carbon) neutral."
To compensate, he said, "we will engage in carbon absorption programs."
French rugby has been beset by scandals.
'An exceptional thing': The Webb Ellis Cup on display at the draw in Paris / © AFP
Former World Cup general manager Claude Atcher was suspended after accusations over his "alarming" management style.
French Rugby Federation president Bernard Laporte stepped aside after receiving a suspended two-year jail sentence for corruption.
Former France forward Sebastien Chabal was accused of exploiting his position as a World Cup ambassador to obtain more than 100 match tickets. He denied any wrongdoing.
"These are matters that concern the past. These affairs were seven months ago. The World Cup is in seven months," said Rivoal. "Today, we are looking at the future and trying not to look back too much."
"There are so many beautiful and positive projects, that's what we want to talk about. It's an exceptional thing. Our job is to create sporting emotion."