IRB World Cup Sevens to provide ‘Olympic springboard’ after 2013

13 June 2013 | Posted in SportsPro Blog | By Ian McPherson | Contact the author

IRB World Cup Sevens to provide ‘Olympic springboard’ after 2013

The International Rugby Board (IRB) has confirmed that the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament will be retained and integrated into the Olympic Games cycle following consultation with its member unions and major stakeholders.

Mike Miller, the former chief executive of rugby union’s world governing body, had announced plans in May 2009 to scrap the quadrennial tournament should rugby sevens win inclusion in the Olympic programme for the 2016 Games in Rio.

Since rugby sevens was granted Olympic status later that year, it was thought that this year’s tournament in Moscow could well be its last edition.

However, the IRB has announced its decision to integrate the tournament – which currently consists of 24 men’s and 16 women’s teams – within the middle of the Olympic cycle to provide a 'springboard' for unions and ‘a key high performance pathway for teams around the world, ensuring optimum competitiveness at the Olympic Games’. The decision will see an Olympic Games or RWC Sevens take place every two years, with the next World Cup set to take place in 2018.

"Like all Olympic sports, we believe that a world championship event will increase competitiveness, interest and participation."

 

“RWC Sevens provides an opportunity for a large number of nations to compete at a high level,” IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset said. “Like all Olympic sports, we believe that a world championship event will increase competitiveness, interest and participation, slotting into the multi-sport Games cycle and enhancing rugby sevens in the Olympic Games and the sport as a whole.

“Moscow 2013 is a reflection of the truly global reach of our sport and the event is on track to be a wonderful success. With unprecedented interest in hosting rugby sevens events, spurred on by inclusion in the Olympic Games, I am sure we can anticipate a keenly contested tender process for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018.”

The governing bodies of Wales - the reigning sevens world champions - and the USA have already voiced their interest in hosting the 2018 edition of the three-day tournament, while the operators of Singapore’s 55,000-seater Sports Hub, due for completion in 2014, are also thought to be planning a bid.

"Sevens is growing across the world," said Wales Rugby Union (WRU) chief executive Roger Lewis. "It will be in the Olympic Games in 2016 and the Olympic Games in 2020. We are preparing a bid to bring the Rugby World Cup Sevens to Cardiff in 2018.

“That's five years hence because the IRB have decided to move the Rugby World Cup Sevens to fit between those two Olympic events. I've informed the IRB that we're doing this and the IRB have kept me informed of the process they are working to. Hopefully over the course of the next six months we'll know if we're successful or not."

The 2013 RWC Sevens will take place in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium from 28th to 30th June.

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