The Yomiuri Shimbun The organizing committee of the Rugby World Cup in Japan, which will start on Sept. 20, and the international governing body World Rugby have compiled an emergency response plan for cases in which it is judged impossible to hold matches due to typhoons or earthquakes, according to sources.
In principle, in such emergency situations, pool-stage matches will be called off and treated as a draw, but the quarterfinal, semifinal and final matches in the knockout tournament will be postponed and rescheduled. There were no instances of matches being canceled or postponed in the past eight Rugby World Cups, but the measures for this year’s event give consideration to there being a higher risk of natural disasters occurring in Japan.
According to the plan, a special team will be established within the organizing committee if a typhoon is expected to approach a match venue or if there is a risk of some other natural disaster. In such cases, the team intends to announce whether or not the match will be held at least six hours before the planned start time.
It is possible that if public transportation systems announce planned suspensions of services, the team will decide whether to cancel or postpone the match the day before.
There are 40 matches in the pool stage. Rescheduling postponed matches in this stage could greatly influence the entire World Cup schedule. Therefore, instead of rescheduling, both teams in question will receive two competition points. The pool-stage matches adopt a point system of awarding four points for a win, two for a draw and none for a loss.
If pool-stage matches are called off, tickets will be refunded.
As knockout tournament matches must decide on a winner, they will be postponed rather than called off. However, if it is possible to prepare an alternative venue in a different place, the team would consider holding the match on the planned day.
Past Rugby World Cups have been hosted by major rugby powers, such as Britain, and this will be the first in Asia. As there is a higher risk of natural disasters in Japan, organizers have been considering a response plan.