Hong Kong have declined an invitation to play in the world's newest sevens tournament in Paris. The world's top sevens teams, including reigning Hong Kong Sevens champions New Zealand, Fiji and Australia, are all set to play in the inaugural Paris Sevens on October 11-12. The 24-team Paris Sevens - an exact replica of the 'old' Hong Kong Sevens - is backed by hosts the French Barbarians, with former French greats Serge Blanco and Jean-Pierre Rives being two of the big names closely associated with the Air France-sponsored tournament. 'I am proud to be involved in such a project. I just wished it had existed when I was still playing,' said the great French full-back Blanco. 'I don't know many foreign players who would turn down a chance of spending a week in Paris and participating in a top sevens competition at the same time.' Sports Post, which broke the news during this year's Hong Kong Sevens of the likelihood that a major sevens tournament in the Northern Hemisphere was on the cards, can reveal that Paris Sevens organisers were unhappy Hong Kong had turned down the invitation. 'Hong Kong have been the model for sevens tournaments worldwide for many years and we regret that they are unable to accept our invitation,' said William Jefferson, tournament director of the Paris Sevens. 'We believe it was due to scheduling problems,' Jefferson added. The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union confirmed an invitation had been sent and that they had turned it down. The Union said the Paris Sevens did not fit into the national team's programme, which in the early part of the season will concentrate on 15s rugby. 'We won't be going to the Paris Sevens because we are concentrating on the Asian Rugby Football Tournament in November,' said David Roberts, HKRFU's commercial director. The Asian tournament will be played in Taiwan from November 2-9. While the emphasis is on 15-a-side rugby, the local Union will be aware of the challenge the Paris event could pose to the Hong Kong Sevens in the future. By taking the October dates, the Paris Sevens has ensured the Southern Hemisphere teams - the best sevens exponents in the world - will send their best sides. The HKRFU had toyed with the idea of moving the Hong Kong Sevens to October. The traditional March dates create problems for sides like Australia, South Africa and the Five Nations teams to send their best available players. But with the Paris Sevens now firmly on the cards, Hong Kong are unlikely to move their own tournament. The other teams invited are: Arabian Gulf, Argentina, Australia, Ivory Coast, England, Fiji, FIRA (rugby's European governing body), Germany, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Russia, Scotland, South Africa, USA, Wales, Western Samoa, and the British and South American Barbarians.