The globalisation of the Credit Suisse First Boston Hong Kong Sevens has resulted in the reduction of Asian teams at the March 22-24 tournament at Hong Kong stadium. Organisers will reveal the 24-team lineup today and missing from the crowd will be two Asian teams who have been axed on the dictates of the International Rugby Board, which now has a huge voice in the Hong Kong event as it is part of the World Sevens Series. 'Yes, the IRB has a great influence and they have reduced the number of Asian teams in our tournament. They have done this because there are other Asian sevens tournaments,' Hong Kong Rugby Football Union executive director Allan Payne said. The Hong Kong Sevens, first staged in 1976, has always been billed by local officials as a tournament to foster and promote the growth of rugby in Asia. But the passage of time and the globalisation of sevens has made this policy redundant. 'The origins of the Hong Kong Sevens was to boost rugby in Asia. But now that we are part of the IRB World Sevens Series, we have to listen to them,' Payne said. He said two teams from the core eight-team group of Asian unions would not be invited this year. It is believed that the two teams likely to be dropped will come from a group including Malaysia, Thailand and the Arabian Gulf. Payne added: 'This could be rotated every year with other Asian sides not being invited.' Sri Lanka and Singapore were also facing the axe before a last-minute change of heart. Jamie Scott, secretary-general of the Asian Rugby Football Union, concurred that the 'global aspect' of the series had led to the HKRFU dropping two Asian sides. 'There is a core group of teams that the IRB wants to play in every tournament. To make room for that some of the Asian teams have to be dropped. It is a matter for the individual union and the IRB in Dublin,' Scott said. The irony of the decision by the HKRFU to fall in line with the IRB will not be lost on close followers of the Hong Kong Sevens. When the Hong Kong Sevens was first mooted, the HKRFU approached the administrators of the game in Twickenham for permission to stage the tournament. They received a letter from the RFU which stated a resolution of the International Rugby Football Board saying that rugby unions at no level could take part in competition or tournaments in which teams from several countries took part. That was then. Times have changed and that out-dated resolution, even at the time, was revoked. The Hong Kong Sevens was born, mainly to promote the game in Asia. But globalisation has ended even this tenet. Some may say bigger is better. Try convincing those Asian teams who will miss out.