Hong Kong rules out bid to host World Cup Sevens in 2018
Union chairman says two tournaments at stadium in 2018 would be 'difficult challenge'
Hong Kong has ruled itself out of bidding to host the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens, saying it would present "a difficult challenge" to host two international tournaments that year - the Hong Kong Sevens being the other - in the city.
The International Rugby Board yesterday confirmed the World Cup Sevens would continue to be held every four years and would be played in between Olympic Games cycles with the next one in 2018.
But the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union said it had no plans to bid for the tournament, which was twice held here, in 1997 and 2005, simply because Hong Kong Stadium would not be able to cope with the demands.
"It will be a difficult challenge for us to host two sevens tournaments in the same year at the stadium," said union chairman Trevor Gregory. "I would suspect cities which are not part of the IRB Sevens World Series will have a better chance to host the World Cup than one which already is part of the circuit. If we had the new stadium at Kai Tak up and running it would give us a better chance. With a roof and regulated temperature, we could hold a World Cup even in summer."
The sixth World Cup Sevens will be held at the end of this month in Moscow. The Hong Kong men's team have qualified.
Candidate cities have to be able to put on both a men's event for 24 teams as well as a women's event for 16 teams at the World Cup. Wales has already said it wants to host the 2018 event. It is believed Singapore, with a new stadium ready by April, will also bid..
After years of speculation, the IRB finally confirmed the World Cup would not be ditched. The governing body had previously maintained that if sevens was accepted into the Olympics, the World Cup would be discontinued as it wanted the Olympics to be the pinnacle of the sport.
But with the Olympics only open to a few - only 12 men's and 12 women's teams will compete in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 - the decision was unanimous among members to continue with the World Cup.