Five Days Until Turning Point for 2023 Hong Kong Rugby Sevens
by: The Beat Asia
July 26, 2022
Having been postponed since April 2020, the 2023 Hong Kong Rugby Sevens is scheduled for Nov. 4-6 of this year, though organizers are at an impasse at whether to continue with the event.
Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) CEO Robbie McRobbie stated in a recent interview with Bloomberg that the association has until July 31 to confirm if they are going ahead with arrangements due to buffer periods and time required for preparation.
The pandemic has been a major reason behind the longest postponement since the annual tournament first began its run in 1976 and has caused the HKRU to lose up to HK$200 million, with 40% of their cohort being laid off.
The HKRU had been in talks with the government regarding a proposal for a closed-loop system that would allow rugby players to be in Hong Kong without mandatory hotel quarantine upon arrival but that would also bar them from unnecessary direct contact with the general public.
The Culture, Sports, and Tourism Bureau has projected a number of about 100,000 spectators for the upcoming tournament, with an additional influx of overseas participants and officiators. McRobbie had hoped to receive official confirmation by late June or early of this month, though details remain unconfirmed.
Vouching for the HKRU’s support of the Hong Kong government’s health protocols, McRobbie affirms that “we back (sic) the government’s efforts to encourage vaccination in the community and are proud that 100% of our staff and professional athletes are fully vaccinated. We believe this remains the most effective means of opening borders safely and quickly so international business, travel and sports events can resume.”
The event will also be occurring at the same time as a financial summit held in the city, implying the month of November might become a trial period for the return of international events and larger number of inbound travelers.
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