World Rugby has today announced the cancellation of the opening two tournaments of the 2020/21 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, including the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens in November 2020.
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.
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.”
“The decisions were taken in line with relevant government and International public health authority advice and with the health and wellbeing of the rugby community and the wider public taking precedence. Both hosts are due to return to a full Series schedule beyond this season.”
The tournament organisers, Emirates Airline remains appreciative of all the efforts from World Rugby, teams, unions & players alongside the global and regional stakeholders in seeking to find a way to deliver the tournament in 2020.
“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,” said Mr Gary Chapman, President Emirates Group Services & dnata.
“With 28 national teams from 18 countries on 6 continents, the current pandemic has created a unique challenge to logistics with each country facing differing levels of restrictions on travel around the world”
“The UAERF has been working tirelessly with Emirates, World Rugby and Local Sports Governing Bodies for the successful delivery of another astonishing version of Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens in 2020, regrettably, the global sport events calendar is witnessing a massive restructure as a result of COVID19 Pandemic distressing impact on all our living aspects.
UAERF believes player welfare is paramount, we totally support this decision which serves keeping every participant in the safe zone” said Faisal Abdulaziz Alzarooni, UAERF Vice Chairman.
The Dubai borders remain open to welcome visitors & tourists to travel to the emirate in keeping with recommended health & safety practices with Emirates Airline currently flying to destinations world-wide
With regional and local events beginning to open back up in the UAE, the organisers are exploring the opportunity to deliver a regionally focused invitational/club event in 2020
Tournament Director, Mr Tom Burwell spoke of ongoing plans for the regional invitational competition;
“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”