Releasing a statement on Thursday, the International Rugby Board (IRB) expressed its delight that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board has recommended Rugby Sevens as one of two sports for inclusion in the 2016 Olympic Games.
The Irish Rugby Football Union has welcomed the decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to recommend that Rugby Sevens be included in the programme for the Olympic Games in the future.
The inclusion of the Sevens version of the game is a significant day for the sport on a global basis in terms of growth.
The benefits of Olympic inclusion are wide ranging and the IRFU looks forward to the congress in Copenhagen on October 9 where Rugby Sevens’ inclusion will be formally voted on by the IOC members.
Both golf and Sevens have been recommended to be part of the 2016 Olympic Games, following a vote by the International Olympic Committee’s executive board at a meeting in Berlin today.
Bernard Lapasset, President of the International Rugby Board, said: “We would like to thank the IOC Executive Board for selecting Rugby Sevens from what are seven strong and diverse sports.
“We recognise the significance of this milestone in our campaign but are also mindful that the ultimate decision rests with the IOC members when they meet in Copenhagen on October 9 next.”
Rugby union was played, in a 15-a-side format, at four different Olympics between 1900 and 1924, with the USA winning gold in both the 1920 and 1924 Games.
The IRB proposed the Sevens game – both men’s and women’s competitions – for rugby’s comeback to Olympic level in 2016.
The host city for the 2016 Games will be chosen on October 2, with Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo on the final shortlist.
“The Olympic Games would be the pinnacle of the sport for all our athletes and the rugby family, providing the opportunity for the best men’s and women’s players in the world to showcase their talent on the world’s greatest sporting stage,” Lapasset added.
“The international rugby community is united behind Rugby Sevens’ campaign and we now look ahead to October.”