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Opinion

IMF-World Bank: Snakebite and Bok

They are serious events but the IMF-World Bank meetings always leave plenty of room for frivolities. Investment banks compete to lay on the most lavish parties. Huge amounts are spent to attract the great and the good.

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But what was the hottest ticket in Washington in the third weekend of October? For delegates from England and South Africa, the dates of the meeting presented a major problem. Both teams had reached the final of the rugby world cup. This presented two issues: first, the evening kick off in Paris meant the game would take place during the afternoon meetings in Washington; and second, rugby as a sport has little following in the US, so finding a screen that would show the oval ball game rather than the baseball play-offs was a tough call.

While senior bankers put their support staff on the case, Euromoney came to the rescue, hiring out the appropriately-named Irish Channel bar to show the game.

Almost 150 IMF goers came along to see if outsiders England could defend their title of World Cup leaders against the mighty Springboks. These included the central bank governors of a number of rugby-mad Pacific Island nations. Alas for the English contingent, the South Africans won 15-6 but while English bankers were drowning their sorrows, South African bankers at the event were celebrating.

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