The International Rugby Board has completed two days of meetings with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne where planning continued to progress for Sevens’ debut at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The meetings were the first to be held jointly with representatives from the International Golf Federation since both sports were voted into the Olympic Programme at the 121st IOC Session in Copenhagen last October.
Marking another key milestone towards Rio 2016, the meetings highlighted the collaborative commitment between the IRB and the IOC to delivering a world class Sevens tournament and growing the sport around the world.
The sessions focused on themes such as Games management, Olympic solidarity and NOC engagement, while also providing the IRB delegation an opportunity to update participants on their own operational planning developments.
IRB Chief Executive Mike Miller, who headed the Board’s delegation, said: “We were delighted to be in Lausanne to progress planning for Sevens’ debut at the 2016 Olympic Games. Since the IOC decision last year we continue to witness huge interest from stakeholders both within the game and outside the game.
“These meetings are critical to providing our member Unions with the latest information about the process. We are increasingly bringing our Olympic vision to life.
“We look forward to working in partnership with the IOC on playing an active role within the Olympic family, promoting the continued growth of our sport while also ensuring the delivery of a successful Sevens tournament at the 2016 Games.”
IOC Sports Director Christophe Dubi said: “We are delighted to have Sevens on board the programme of the Olympic Games as of Rio in 2016. The meetings that we had over the last two days in Lausanne were very fruitful and allowed the IOC and the IRB to exchange valuable information on planning and operations.
“A strong co-operation is key to the success of Sevens’ debut at the Games and we look forward to strengthening our relationship with the IRB over the next six years.”
Sevens continues to grow since the IOC’s decision with increased attendance and broadcast figures throughout the 2009/2010 IRB Sevens World Series rounds to date and emerging rugby nation Russia recently announced as hosts for the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament.
Miller added: “The IRB is currently undergoing a review of the existing IRB Sevens Strategic Plan. It is a collaborative process with Member Unions and other major stakeholders that will provide the blueprint for the further growth of the game around the world.”
The Strategic Plan will ensure that all 117 IRB Member Unions can engage in an effective dialogue with their respective National Olympic Committees and have access to a structured development, tournament and qualifying pathway that optimises the effects of inclusion in the Olympic Programme.