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ON DISPLAY: Declan O’Brien explains how the IRFU is keen to showcase Aviva Stadium during the ESSMA Summit 2018

In this latest ESSMA interview, Declan O’Brien explains how the IRFU is keen to showcase the home of Irish Rugby, Aviva Stadium, during next year’s ESSMA Summit, which will be held at the world-class venue, January 16-17, 2018.


The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) is the governing body of rugby in Ireland. The original Lansdowne Road ground – which has since been demolished to make way for its now iconic reincarnation, the Aviva Stadium – has been involved with ESSMA since 1996.


In the following interview, ESSMA gained insights from the IRFU’s Operations & Events Manager, Declan O’Brien, who first joined ESSMA with the IRFU back in 1999 and who went on to become an ESSMA board member, now sitting on the Executive Committee, about the importance of showcasing Aviva Stadium during the ESSMA Summit with Ireland being one of the three candidate unions in the race to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023.



Can you tell us a little about your time with ESSMA and how you feel about the ESSMA Summit coming to Dublin in January?

I came on board at the IRFU in 1999 and I became a board member in 2001-2002.


We’re really happy to be hosting the Summit in Dublin in January. We’re really looking forward to it and the attendants will see a beautiful stadium, host to a well-organised event in a great city.


Why should ESSMA members, clubs, stadium-, leagues and FA members come to Dublin, to Aviva Stadium, to the ESSMA Summit?

The ESSMA Summit is the most important event held by ESSMA throughout the year. It is a great networking opportunity for people to meet other stadiums throughout Europe and to discuss problems that are similar in all stadiums. And it is a great opportunity for people to come to Dublin.


What can the IRFU and Aviva Stadium bring to those participating at the ESSMA Summit? And what can Ireland showcase?

What you see is what you get: a wonderful stadium, home to Irish football [FAI] and Irish rugby [IRFU]. It hosts about 20 events a year, so it is a heavily used stadium.


We are really happy that we have such a venue, which has a capacity of 50,000, and we are looking forward to hosting the ESSMA Summit.


What do you think about the growth of the ESSMA Summit? And how has it changed and evolved over the last number of years?

The first Summit was held in Munich, Germany, about four years ago. Since then it has grown exponentially each year.


Last year we had a great Summit in Lyon, France, and the year before that we had another great Summit in Bilbao, Spain.


Hopefully the Aviva Stadium event will be the best yet and we are really looking forward to it. We really hope it will provide a great venue for the event.


In his ‘Meet the Expert’ interview with ESSMA, Declan said:

ESSMA members should join the ESSMA Summit in Dublin because it is the most important event held by ESSMA throughout the year. It is a great networking opportunity for people to meet other stadiums throughout Europe and to discuss problems that are similar in all stadiums. Next to this, it’s also the ideal opportunity visit Dublin, a fantastic city.


Sports Venue Business (SVB) is proud to be an Official Media Partner for ESSMA and its members, with SVB CEO, Katie McIntyre, attending all ESSMA Summits and Workshops. NB: Katie McIntyre will be producing a series of video interviews from the 2018 ESSMA Summit, taking place January 16-17 at Aviva Stadium.

For further details on the ESSMA Summit, go to: essmasummit.eu
For further details on ESSMA (European Stadium & Safety Management Association), visit their SVB Directory listing online at:

Aviva Stadium’s Martin Murphy – who is also a longstanding ESSMA member – was interviewed by SVB CEO, Katie McIntyre, earlier this year. Read the interview:

TACKLING THE CHALLENGES: Interview with Martin Murphy, Stadium Director, Aviva Stadium

Online by simply clicking here.



Or watch the video interview, by clicking here.

RWC 2023 race ramps-up

The race to host the Rugby World Cup 2023 marked a major milestone on 1 June, with all three candidate unions submitting their bid files to World Rugby in Dublin.


France, Ireland and South Africa all uploaded their detailed bids to a dedicated and secure portal by the required deadline, and also delivered their bids in person.


Within their submissions, the candidates were required to outline their vision and mission for hosting rugby’s global showcase event. This included confirmation of guarantees from governments and other appropriately empowered entities, the hosting agreement and detailed responses to core hosting requirements in line with World Rugby’s seven hosting objectives.


To ensure fairness and transparency, independent assessors, The Sports Consultancy, oversaw compliance to the submissions process with World Rugby unable to access the submissions until after the deadline.


In line with World Rugby’s robust selection procedure, all bids will now be reviewed in detail by the specialist technical review group, evaluated against weighted criteria and will feature independent economic, financial and commercial assessment by Dow Jones Sports Intelligence and other expert advisors.


The Sports Consultancy will independently assess the group’s application of the evaluation criteria to ensure a fair and consistent approach to the decision-making process.


Each candidate will have the opportunity to present their bid to the Council on 25 September.


The Rugby World Cup Board will then make its host recommendation on 31 October, with the Rugby World Cup 2023 host to be selected on 15 November, when the World Rugby Council will vote on all three bids, while taking the recommendation into consideration.


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