Posted September 16th, 2009 - Updated 10/06/09







Please sign the petition on the grassroots website Olympic Rugby, and vote on the iRB suggested site Inside the Games to get Rugby back into the Olympic Games . . . the voting box is on the right-hand side of the page.  The votes for Rugby in the Olympics is more than ten thousand, and has more than 80% of the total votes . . . squash is a distant second with a little more than a thousand votes . . . Golf is next to last with only a hundred thirty-seven votes and 1.1% of the total . . . get to the links, sign-in on the one and vote on the other.  The Midwest will be able to boost the total to more than twenty thousand if we all do it . . . do it and do it now!




Bernard Lapasset, President, International Rugby Board

Huguenot House, 35–38 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland

Tel: +353-1-240-9270 | Fax: +353-1-240-9299

 E-mail:  myra.mcglynn@irb.com



September 15th, 2009



To:  Secretaries/Chief Executive Officers of Unions and Regional Associations in Membership of the iRB



Re:  Rugby’s Olympic Campaign




There are now just four weeks until the International Olympic Committee (IOC) meets in Copenhagen, Denmark to vote on the IOC Executive Board's recommendation that Rugby Sevens and Golf should join the 2016 Olympic Games program.


Rugby Sevens and Golf will face separate votes at the meeting on October 9 with a straight majority required for acceptance.  The campaign has gone well, culminating with the emphatic recommendation in Berlin last month, but there is still much hard work to be done if the global Rugby community is to deliver Rugby back to the Olympic Games for the first time in 80 years.  The united supportive stance that the Rugby community has displayed has been a strong feature of the campaign to date and I would like to thank you for your hard work.


Your hard work in engaging the media, promoting of Rugby Sevens tournaments, your teams and Rugby Sevens as an Olympic Sport and your conversations with your National Olympic Committee (NOC) members have ensured that Rugby Sevens remains at the forefront of the minds of the people that matter.


The future of Rugby Sevens is in our hands. With four weeks to go, we need to ensure that we do not take our eyes off the ball, that we continue to promote the virtues of men's and women's Sevens and that we speak to those who will either make the decision or influence those who will make the decision in October.  These four weeks will be critical.


I urge you to make contact with your NOC members and IOC members, make sure they know all about Sevens and how it will benefit the Sport in your country and provide medal opportunities, how it will attract new young men, women and children to the Sport and how Rugby Sevens will compliment the Olympic ideals of fair play, respect and camaraderie - virtues that are deeply rooted in Rugby.


In this document are two key areas that will assist you with that process.  The first is a Sevens key facts sheet and the second contains key speaking notes which will assist with messaging and ensure that the global Rugby community promotes one central vision, while adding your own distinct national flavor.


Please also urge your media managers to promote the Olympic Campaign and engage with their media.  Strong messages of support from your All Star Men's and Women's Sevens and Fifteen Players will certainly generate publicity.


Should you have any questions on Olympic media messaging or would like to view a media release template, please contact iRB Head of Communications, Dominic Rumbles at dominic.rumbles@irb.com, or +353 86 852 0826.


Together we can make the Olympic dream become a reality.



Bernard Lapasset - President










Rugby Sevens



Seven players per team with matches played over two seven minute halves



Played by quickest and most agile players



Speed and handling skills key -ensuring an exciting, fast and free flowing game



87 Men’s International Teams and 87 Women’s International Teams are playing Sevens



Already Successfully Integrated Into Major Multi-Sport Championships



Sevens played in Commonwealth, Asian, Pan American, All African, and World Games



Tournaments played over two to three days



Small squad numbers and support staff of 12 and 3 respectively



Utilize existing stadia with small overlay costs



Young and Travelling Fan Base



Average Sevens attendance profile is aged 18-30 across both men and women



Attendance at the Commonwealth Games 2006 Sevens Tournament was 150,000 over three days - the 2nd most attended sport behind track and field



Hong Kong Sevens regularly sells out its 120,000 capacity over the three day Tournament



Smaller Nation Medal Opportunities



Nations such as Fiji, Samoa, and New Zealand are Sevens World Series winners, and would be genuine Olympic Gold Medal contenders



Emerging Rugby nations such as Argentina, Uruguay, Thailand, and Tonga would have realistic Olympic Medal ambitions



Broadcast Friendly



Short, sharp action with seven minute intervals makes it attractive to broadcasters



Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 in Dubai shattered all previous broadcast records - 28 broadcasters carried live coverage to 141 countries to a global audience of 760 million.



Commitment from Best players



Rugby’s Olympic Campaign has the full support of all iRB Member Unions and the International Rugby Players’ Association



Shared Olympic Ideals and Values



Rugby has at its core an ethos of fair play, friendship, respect, and excellence



iRB and Rugby World Cup has a humanitarian partnership with the UN Food Program



iRB’s Keep Rugby Clean Campaign, combining drug testing and educational outreach, is now used by other IFs as a showcase for best practice



Thriving Women’s Game



Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 will have a qualification structure across six regions, involving 83 nations



Germany, China, Thailand, Canada, USA, Spain, and Kazakhstan are all major growth nations



Excellent Partners throughout the Four Year Olympiad



The iRB would use its existing Tournaments and properties - such as the annual Sevens World Series - to promote Olympic Sevens throughout the four year Olympiad



The iRB would encourage its commercial partners to invest in the wider Olympic Movement










Key Olympics Questions and Answers for general Media enquiries



Why Rugby and the Olympic Games?



Because Rugby is good for the Olympic Games and the Olympic Games are good for Rugby



We are committed to the growth of the game across the world in partnership with the IOC



Currently Rugby is played in more than 100 countries but we want to continue our global growth and believe that inclusion in the Games would help foster it



The IOC has said that it wants to reach out to young people. Rugby Sevens is good because it reaches millions of young people around the world



We have millions of young fans and television viewers around the world



Rugby Sevens has great TV broadcast appeal – it is short/sharp/exciting and young people love to watch it live and on TV – bringing a whole new audience to the Olympic Games



Why do the Olympic Games need Rugby?



Rugby Sevens has millions of fans and television audiences that are passionate about the game because it is a quick and dynamic sport - Rugby is enjoyed by men, women and families



Our young travelling fan base will stay on to watch other sports at the Games



Rugby Sevens is already successful at many international multi-sport events where we deliver full stadia including the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games



Rugby Sevens has proven to be very successful with commercial partners around the world



Why are you proposing the inclusion of Rugby Sevens instead of Rugby 15s?



Sevens is an exciting, fast and free flowing game – great for young people – with 7 minutes in each half



Sevens is played by our quickest, fittest and most agile players, and creates more medal opportunities for smaller nations (e.g. Fiji, Samoa, Kenya, Tonga, and New Zealand)



Rugby Sevens is great for live and television audiences and a big success with broadcasters at all of our existing events



Sevens is proven to work very well in several international multi-sport events (Commonwealth, Asian, Pan American, All African, and World Games)



Does the Rugby campaign for the Olympic Games have the support of the athletes?  Would they participate in the Games if

Rugby were included?



We have the support of our best international players and the International Rugby Players Association – they want to have that special Olympic experience



All players recognize the importance of the Olympic Games in the sporting calendar and have said to us “We’ll be there”



To win an Olympic medal would be the dream of all the leading players



What is your position on doping?



The iRB is very clear on doping.  We are committed to zero tolerance



We have put in place a strong testing program in and out of competitions and all the players at all levels learn the same message “Work together to keep Rugby clean”



This approach has been commended by WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency



Over the last 14 months the iRB operated a record testing program of 759 tests for Sevens, including RWC Sevens, regional qualifiers and the iRB Sevens World Series.  The results confirmed that Sevens is clean.



How do you justify the inclusion of Rugby to the Olympics in light of the IOC’s cap on total number of athletes during the

Games?  How many additional athletes would compete at the Games if Rugby were selected?



We are flexible with regards to the number of athletes added to the program and can offer both Men’s and Women’s competitions with different formats



Competitions can be held with 12, 16, or 20 teams as seen within other multi-sport events



Each Sevens squad comprises 12 players and 3 support staff



We are committed to working with the IOC to find the best solution to meet their needs



Surely the Rugby Sevens is in – the recommendation just needs rubber-stamping?



It is wonderful that the IOC Executive Board clearly recognized the merits of Rugby Sevens as an Olympic Sport and the global Rugby family would like to thank them for their decision



Recognize though that the IOC members have the ultimate say on October 9th



The global Rugby family is fully behind the iRB’s campaign



All we can do is make sure everyone is aware of our campaign and what Rugby offers



We want to ensure people understand that our case is compelling for extending the reach of the Games, particularly to more young people