An article has appeared in the press recently, about the possibility of 7s rugby being included in the Olympics. What that article doesn’t tell you though is what one of the major stumbling blocks is.
The IRB’s sevens tournament director, Beth Coalter, expects the IRB to have an answer from the International Olympics Committee (IOC) by October 9 next year. With demonstration matches being mooted for possible inclusion in the 2012 London Olympics already. The IOC will be sending a very large delegation to the 7s RWC Dubai from 5 – 7 March next year.
While in Dubai for the 7s I was speaking to an official involved with the 2009 Sevens RWC. During the discussion it became apparent that there was some concern about where to seat the IOC delegates that would be attending the event to consider the possible inclusion of rugby into the Olympic fold. Should they be placed in a stiff upper-lip area or should they be placed near the fans to allow them to experience the atmosphere?
A major concern was the image that rugby has of only being supported by alcohol induced louts. As the GCC is one of the regions with most probably the most diverse population of rugby supporting nations in the world, it was always a foregone conclusion that the Dubai 7s would be well supported. And we all know that Rugby support goes hand in hand with a beer or two. I am not saying drunkeness I am saying a beer or two.
If Rugby wants to be included in the Olympics I fully support that, but if it has to come at the price of not being allowed to have a beer while watching the game, then the IOC can pull that rod out and I will supply the vaseline for them to replace it with a rugbyball.Tweet