Dubai and Cape Town Sevens 2020 Called Off
World Rugby has announced the cancellation of the opening two tournaments of the 2021/21 HSBC World Sevens season, which means the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens 2020 and HSBC Cape Town 2020 (South Africa) legs are both called off.
The two rugby sevens events were due to be the first two legs on the ten-tournament 2020/21 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
In its official statement World Rugby said: “After a comprehensive consultation process and constructive dialogue with the host organisations, it has been decided that the combined men’s and women’s Dubai and Cape Town rounds of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2021, which were provisionally scheduled for 26-28 November and 4-6 December 2020 respectively, will not take place due to the ongoing and dynamic global nature of the COVID-19 pandemic….Both hosts are due to return to a full Series schedule beyond this season.”
Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens 2020 Cancelled
In a statement on the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens website, a media statement said “the continued global uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the cancellation of the tournament in 2020. It is the first time in 51 years that the tournament has been cancelled since its inception in 1970.”
The Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019.
Mr Gary Chapman, President Emirates Group Services, said “We are of course disappointed not to be hosting the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens for the first time in 51 years, but we understand the extraordinary circumstances surrounding today’s cancellation of the opening tournaments of the new season.”
Faisal Abdulaziz Alzarooni, UAERF Vice Chairman added: “UAERF believes player welfare is paramount, we totally support this decision which serves to keep every participant in the safe zone.”
Possible Invitational Tournament
The organisers are “exploring the opportunity to deliver a regionally focused invitational/club event in 2020” with Tournament Director, Mr Tom Burwell saying a regional invitational competition is a possibility.
Burwell said, “Whilst we are unable to deliver the world-famous Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens in its traditional format in 2020, we are currently exploring options to safely deliver an invitation tournament in December which will be invitational & club level regionally focused across rugby, netball & cricket. We will announce further details in due course next month”.
HSBC Cape Town 7s 2020 Cancelled
Jurie Roux, SA Rugby CEO said on the Springboks Rugby website, “This is a very disappointing development but far from unexpected. The HSBC Cape Town Sevens is a highly complex, international event that involves 28 men’s and women’s teams travelling from all the corners of the globe and considering the progress of the pandemic, both here and around the world, the prospects of being able to deliver our normal spectacular were extremely slim.
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019-2020
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of events were cancelled in 2020 and World Rugby decided to confirm New Zealand as both men’s and women’s champions.
Although the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens did happen last season, the other Asian legs in Hong Kong and Singapore did not take place.
In 2019, the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series saw record-breaking fan engagement figures with a year-on-year increase of 64 per cent across video views to 198 million, and the Series attracted more than 749,800 attendees to its events globally said World Rugby.
Futures Sport & Entertainment reported a 20 per cent increase in total cumulative average audience for the year-to-date in 2020, with 13.9 million fans reached compared to 11.7 million by the same stage in 2019.
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2020-2021
Currently, the next scheduled legs of the Series will be in Australia and NZ, followed by back to back events in Hong Kong and Singapore. The 2020/21 Series is vital for teams as they build-up to the Tokyo Olympic Games in mid-2021.
World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper said: “Our research demonstrates that rugby sevens is an important driver of global growth for our sport, particularly in emerging nations where it attracts new fans with its dynamic, skilful and spectacular style. Rugby sevens is a key priority for our organisation and as we prepare for the Tokyo Olympic Games hot on the heels of the success of the Rugby World Cup in Japan, 2021 has the potential to provide another huge step-change in the awareness and participation of rugby sevens around the globe.”
World Rugby Working Group
A working group chaired by World Rugby Executive Committee and Council member John Jeffrey and includes representatives of host and participating unions, players and coaches, has been formed. The Group is to review contingency plans and evaluate preparations for the safe, secure and impactful return to international rugby sevens competition.
In addition, the Working Group will review the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series events in 2021. The Series was launched in 2020 to “promote the global growth of the game and provide a pathway for emerging nations to gain promotion to core status on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, as Japan’s men successfully achieved after claiming the inaugural title in 2020.”
Rugby Interviews in Asia
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