The successful re-introduction of rugby into the Olympic Games is an objective of the Strategic Plan for the game as agreed by all Member Unions.
The International Rugby Board believes the ideal form of rugby for Olympic inclusion is Rugby Sevens, which has a proven and very successful record in similar multi-sports Games such as the Commonwealth Games.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will vote on which sports to include in the Olympic Games in Copenhagen, Denmark in October 2009.
The key messages that the IRB believe are important and highlight why rugby should be in the Olympic Games are:
- Rugby reinforces the ideals of Olympism, thanks to rugby's long-standing ethos of fair play and friendship
- Rugby Sevens would reach a new and young audience, including rugby's 3 million players in 116 countries and the tens of millions of fans worldwide
- Rugby Sevens does not need a purpose-built stadium and would fill the Olympic Stadium in the first week of competition, adding an additional vibrant and youthful tone for the Games
- Rugby Sevens would extend the number of potential medal-winning nations in what would be a true world championship. Countries that could aspire to Olympic success in rugby include Fiji, Samoa, Argentina, South Africa, Kenya and New Zealand
- Rugby would increase funds to grow the 'Olympic movement', by attracting new commercial partners and spectators. At the same time rugby would enjoy increased funding and access to facilities from National Olympic Committees as an Olympic sport
The IRB is providing a lot of information to the IOC on why rugby should be reintroduced to the Olympic Games and you can assist rugby with this ambition by responding to the IOC's Virtual Olympic Congress.
The IOC is asking the general public all around the world for feedback as its progresses its plans for the future of the Olympic Games. The IRB believes that future should include rugby.
The deadline to give feedback to the IOC's Virtual Olympic Congress on a specific website - www.2009congress.olympic.org - has now been extended until February 28, 2009. For more information, please click here.