China Turns Down Rugby Sevens For East Asian Games
The Chinese Olympic Committee "has turned down a request" by the Asian Rugby Football Union to include sevens in next year's East Asian Games in Tianjin, according to Alvin Sallay of the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST. ARFU VP Trevor Gregory and Secretary General Ross Mitchell "presented rugby's case for inclusion" at the multi-sports games to senior Chinese Olympic officials. Gregory, who is also the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union chairman, said: "We were told there was no room for inclusion of sevens. It is very disappointing, as we had hoping sevens could continue to be a medal sport at the East Asian Games." It is believed that the reason for the request's denial "was simply down to money." Mitchell said, "If the International Rugby Board had stepped forward and said they would fund the whole tournament, then I'm sure the Chinese would have been happy to include sevens. But the IRB has already said they don't have the budget for this" (SCMP, 11/10).