To Mark Its Return, Rugby Sevens Will Play In 75,000-Seat Olympic Stadium In '16
Rugby Sevens "will take centre stage in the main Olympic Stadium" in '16 if a site visit to Rio de Janeiro after Christmas from Int'l Rugby Board CEO Brett Gosper and his technical team goes to plan, according to Brendan Gallagher of the London TELEGRAPH. The Rio organzing committee plans to use a six-day window between the Opening Ceremony and the start of athletics "to showcase the Olympic's newest and most-lucrative addition." Sevens had "originally been earmarked for a revamped Estadio Sao Januario Stadium, which was due to be redeveloped to increase its capacity from 25,000 to around 35,000, however, the private funding has not materialized, and now the committee is keen to "switch rugby to the Olympic Stadium," which will boast a 75,000 capacity. Now "the ball is in the IRB's court, with Gosper and his technical committee having to decide whether the venue ticks all the boxes from rugby's point of view." Gosper said, "At the moment it is more than a hope, the Olympic Stadium has been allocated to us, and we are very excited and flattered by that. It would be fabulous if it happened." Gosper said such a wonderful venue at the Olympics says "major sport, mainstream," straight away for rugby on its return, and it feels like a huge vote of confidence. Logistically there are "a few minor issues that would have to be worked on, although Rugby Sevens is pretty low maintenance." As long as a regulation field of play can be slotted into the infield of the athletic track, "it will scarcely affect the infrastructure needed for the athletics," which is due to start exactly a week after the Opening Ceremony. The turnaround "can be very quick" (TELEGRAPH, 12/3).