Rugby Canada has announced that a formal bid has been submitted for Vancouver to be one of the ten annual stops on the International Rugby Board’s (IRB) Sevens World Series.
If selected, the 55,000-seat BC Place Stadium will host the first ever indoor tournament, featuring sixteen of the world’s top men’s rugby sevens teams over two days of competition, beginning in 2016.
Rugby sevens is played with only seven players per side, as supposed to the usual fifteen, and has a shorter duration than the traditional match. It holds a strong following in parts of Asia, Europe, Australia, UAE, South Africa and New Zealand.
There is significant global interest to host the event ahead of rugby seven’s Olympic debut at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Summer Games.
Earlier this year, the IRB received formal letters of intent to bid from 25 countries. A shortlist of candidate cities will be made in July while an announcement on the host cities is expected in October 2014.
John Furlong, the CEO of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Organizing Committee, is a co-chair of the bid process to bring the international tournament to the city.
“It’s been a great honour for me to co-lead the Canada Sevens World Series Bid and once again help elevate Vancouver, BC and Canada onto the world sporting stage,” said Furlong. “Sport unites and brings out the best in all of us and I know we will rise to the occasion to once again host an outstanding and unifying rugby event should we be chosen.”
The Vancouver bid is Canada’s official bid and supported by the federal government, provincial government, City of Vancouver, and the Vancouver Hotel Destination Association.
Canada is a strong player in rugby sevens and has competed in every Sevens World Series since the inaugural tournament in 1999. In the 2013-2014 season, the Canadian team finished with an overall sixth place result.
Both the men’s and women’s national rugby teams are supported by Own the Podium as they have been deemed as potential medal contenders for the 2016 Olympics.
“There are over 30,000 rugby players across Canada, and an event of this caliber on home soil will undoubtedly inspire many more,” said Pat Aldous, chairman of Rugby Canada.
Vancouver is not unfamiliar territory for the IRB – the sports federation held its executive committee and rugby committee meetings at the city in October 2013.
If selected, this will follow BC Place Stadium’s major role during next summer’s month-long FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 in Canada. The stadium will host eight matches in addition to the championship final.
Featured Image: Pavco/BC Place