23/02/2024 5:39 PM

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Hong Kong Sevens called off for second straight year

Hong Kong Sevens called off for second straight year

The Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) has once again cancelled its flagship rugby sevens tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic and international travel restrictions.

This year’s tournament was initially scheduled for April, and then postponed to November 5 to 7. On August 04, the sporting body announced that it will cancel the tournament, and instead hold the next one in April 2022.

“The decision follows detailed and constructive dialogue with World Rugby and the participating unions and relevant Hong Kong government bodies and has been taken with the health and wellbeing of the rugby community and the wider public as top priority,” HKRU said in a statement.

In its latest financial report, the HKRU revealed that it had received a HK$60.43 million (SG$10.5 million) insurance payout for the cancellation of the 2020 Hong Kong Sevens tournament, to make up for the lost ticket sales.

The Hong Kong Sevens brings in around 95{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} of HKRU’s annual revenues, according to a report by Sport Business. Around 40 rugby teams from different countries compete in the yearly tournament, which was last won by Fiji in 2019, defeating France in the final.

According to HKRU, it has exerted “significant efforts” to hold the tournament in 2021 after it skipped the 2020 edition, which was supposed to happen during the early stages of the pandemic. However, the rise of more infectious coronavirus variants and difficulties and uncertainties around travel restrictions forced the organisation to once again cancel the tournament.  

“The HKRU remains fully supportive of community virus suppression efforts in Hong Kong, and its paramount interest is to avoid any risk to the safety of athletes, officials, spectators and staff, and the wider community at the present time,” HKRU said.

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