NAIROBI, Kenya, March 4- The International Rugby Board confirmed that Kenya is among 25 unions that formally confirmed interest in hosting a round of the popular HSBC Sevens World Series from the 2015/2016 season.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “This unprecedented response truly reflects the enormous prestige and appeal of Rugby Sevens in the global sporting market place ahead of our Rio 2016 Olympic Games debut.”
“The submission features a blend of interest from every continent and includes existing and emerging Rugby markets. It reaffirms Rugby Sevens as a young, exciting and thriving sport that is reaching out, engaging and inspiring new audiences around the world.”
“International Rugby Sevens is truly competitive, showcasing great skill and speed to full, vibrant stadia and strong and ever-growing global broadcast audiences and that is why we believe that Rugby Sevens will be a great fit for the Olympic Games and also why the Olympic Games will be great for Rugby.”
“We look forward to collaborating with each interested party as we look ahead to the next phase of the process.
Kenya Rugby Union Chairman Mwangi Muthee, speaking to local sports website Voiceofsport.net said, “Everyone loves Sevens Rugby. I hope the world will find coming to our country a unique experience and that we shall prove capable of playing our part in developing rugby to more heights.”
KRU with their main sponsors, Kenya’s largest telecom company Safaricom Limited, recently launched a committee to work on the Kenya bid to have their annual international Sevens tournament in the capital, Nairobi – the Safaricom Sevens — included in the World Series.
The KRU/Safaricom bid committee finished their work in time of the expression of interest deadline which closed on February 28.
The deadline for tender submissions for Unions interested in hosting Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 is December 5, 2014 with IRB Council selecting the winning bid at its May 2015 meeting.
The deadline for formal tender submissions for hosting a Sevens World Series tournament is set for June 27, 2014 and the 2015/16 Series hosts will be selected by IRB EXCO in October 2014.
The dual process follows a detailed strategic review of Rugby World Cup Sevens and the Sevens World Series hosting models and key overall considerations include growing hosting and participation opportunities for the 119 IRB Member Unions, tournament format, increasing Sevens-related global commercial model values, and for the series specifically, the number of events in the calendar.
The full list of Unions that have expressed an interest to tender for IRB Sevens World Series 2015/16 is: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, England, Fiji, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Kenya, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, USA, Wales.