IRB hope scandals won't wreck Olympic dream
August 12, 2009
Wales' men and Australia's women triumphed at the 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens © Getty Images
International Rugby Board (IRB) chief executive Mike Miller remains confident that the bid to see Sevens included as an Olympic sport can survive the recent controversies to hit the game.
The International Olympic Committee's executive board will decide on Thursday whether to recommend Sevens to the full council for inclusion at the games from 2016.
Rugby is up against golf, squash, softball, baseball, roller sports and karate for inclusion and Miller believes that the recent drugs scandal at Bath, Harlequins' 'fake blood injury' shame and the eye-gouging controversy during the British & Irish Lions tour will not derail their hopes.
The IRB has attempted to play up rugby's code of conduct, believing that it "reinforces the ideals of Olympism".
"(Recent events) have not been a problem at all. No-one has raised any questions to us," he said. "Everyone knows there are always a small minority in any sport who try to bend the rules and forget about their place as role models.
"The main thing is: what are the overriding principles, ethos and spirit of the game? The only reason these are headlines is because they are so shocking within rugby and that says a lot of good things about rugby.
"Rugby has a high moral threshold and is proud of its ethos and of its world view. Cheating is not tolerated in any way, shape or form. In the modern era everyone has a challenge to maintain those sorts of values because in western society those values perhaps tend to get brushed aside as people put success first.
"I wouldn't say it is one of our biggest challenges, I wouldn't say it is a huge challenge because by and large people respect that. They are very keen to ensure the moral values continue to exist. For us, our big issues come from the growth of the game. Those are nice issues to have to deal with."
The IRB saw a bid for Olympic inclusion dismissed in 2005 due to their neglect of the women's game, a facet they hope has been addressed following the parallel staging of the men's and women's Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai this year. The IRB intend to stop the Sevens World Cup if rugby is included in the Olympics to ensure there is just one showpiece tournament in the sport's calendar.
"One of our key messages to the executive board is that the success we saw in Dubai at the Rugby World Cup Sevens is what we would be giving to the Olympic movement."
Rugby is already a part of the Commonwealth Games and World Games, and the IRB believes that further expansion in to Russia and the USA would be accelerated by their Olympic inclusion.
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