World Cup and Olympics can exist together, says IRB
There is room for both the Olympics and the World Cup Sevens, with Singapore emerging as a possible venue for the next edition in 2018, top IRB official Brett Gosper said yesterday.
"We are looking at continuing with the World Cup Sevens. This is our belief. Moscow this summer is unlikely to be the last for there is a growing belief sevens can have both a World Cup and the Olympics like many other sports," said Gosper, the International Rugby Board chief executive and managing director of Rugby World Cup Ltd.
The IRB had previously stated if rugby sevens was included in the Olympics it would do away with the quadrennial World Cup which was first played in 1993 at Murrayfield.
But Gosper said the Olympics "closed shop" - the IOC only allowing 12 teams for both men and women when sevens makes it debut at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games - had brought about a change of heart among rugby stakeholders.
"A council vote will be taken in May whether to go ahead with the World Cup and the current thinking is that we look at the interval between this and the Olympics. The ideal scenario would be two-year intervals between Olympics so the next World Cup could be 2018 after Rio," Gosper said.
"There is a huge amount of interest in the World Cup and already a number of countries have indicated they would be keen to host the next World Cup, Singapore has said they might be keen, while the US and France have also said they would be interested."
Gosper said Hong Kong hadn't indicated an interest.
"In the beginning there was a feeling the World Cup might be too much with the Olympics being there, but we now feel they complement each other," Gosper said.
"It is nice to bring 24 teams together instead of 12."