IRB responds to IOC questionnaire for 2016 Olympic Games inclusion
February 17, 2009
IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset is spearheading the sport's bid for re-inclusion in the Olympic programme © Getty Images
The International Rugby Board (IRB) has submitted its response to the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) 2016 Programme Review Questionnaire outlining the organisation's vision and proposal for Rugby's re-inclusion in the Olympic Games.
Divided into nine chapters, the IRB's submission to the Questionnaire provides answers to 80 questions relating to Rugby's proposal to the IOC such as history and tradition of Rugby, universality and popularity of the sport, fair play and refereeing, athlete welfare, global development of the Game, governance and finance. Together, the answers highlight the Game's growth as well as its natural synergies with the Olympic Movement.
"Our submission to the Questionnaire comes with the full support of the Rugby Family, many of whom have been involved in providing these answers. The commitment for Rugby's re-inclusion in the Games can be felt from the world's top men's and women's players and the International Rugby Players' Association all the way through to its young passionate travelling support base and global broadcasters and sponsors. We are all very excited and are united in our campaign to secure Rugby Sevens' inclusion in the Olympic Games starting in 2016," said IRB President Bernard Lapasset.
"This submission sets out our technical bid but it also paints our vision and aims to illustrate to the Olympic Family why we firmly believe that Rugby Sevens' unique attributes would make Olympic re-inclusion good for Rugby and good for the Olympic Games."
"Sevens is already successfully integrated in major international multi-sport events such as the Commonwealth Games, the Asian Games, the Pan American Games and the World Games and it has a proven track record of filling stadia - the Commonwealth Games 2006 Sevens tournament was attended by 150,000 over three days, second only to track and field."
"Rugby's vision for re-inclusion in the Games is one of genuine exchange and partnership with the Olympic Family whereby we work together to achieve our long-term goals. Indeed, we would seek to be the best possible partner for the IOC and the wider Olympic Family, and use our sport's strengths to reach out to new players and audiences and inspire young athletes across the world because we believe that the Olympic Games, the world's biggest sporting stage, is the perfect platform to achieve this," added Lapasset.
IRB Secretary General Mike Miller said, "As seen from inclusion in other multi-sport events, Rugby Sevens tournaments are flexible in a multitude of ways. They can be played over just two or three days, require limited infrastructure and overlay investment and can take place in existing stadia. Furthermore, men's and women's competitions can be held with 12, 16 or 20 teams and in recognition of all these options, we are committed to working with the IOC to identify the most appropriate solution for the Games."
"Rugby Sevens is an exceptional form of Rugby that delivers many benefits. For one, it is played by the quickest and most agile players where speed and handling skills are critical, ensuring a fast and free flowing spectacle for fans and television viewers. With matches played over two seven minute halves, the short sharp action also makes it ideal for broadcasters. Importantly, this format also offers genuine Olympic medal opportunities for smaller nations who are proving highly competitive on the IRB Sevens World Series circuit at this moment,"
"Rugby is reaching out. We want to foster the development of our spirit, our values and our sport to new countries and see more men, women and children participating in the Game in every single country," added Miller.
The IRB is asking the global Rugby community to support its campaign for re-inclusion in the Olympic Games by participating in the IOC's Virtual Olympic Congress before February 28. The forum provides an opportunity for the general public around the world to provide feedback as the organisation progresses its plans for the future of the Olympic Games.
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