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[Dubai, October 11th]: The organisers of the Emirates Airline Dubai 7s have today announced that the proposed local tournament due to take place on December 4th & 5th has had to be cancelled due to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.

Organisers had proposed that the world-famous Emirates Airline Dubai 7s would take place in 2020 without the HSBC World Sevens Series as a local mass-participation competition in Rugby, Netball and Cricket.

Over the past two months since the announcement of the tournament the organisers have been working with regional stakeholders, commercial partners and government institutions to develop a plan to be able to safely deliver the event while living up to the 51 year legacy of Dubai 7s that is so loved in the region and around the world.

Tournament Director, Tom Burwell spoke of the efforts over the past two months: "The team have been working tirelessly since the World Series cancellation was announced in July in an attempt to build out a plan for the event to take place. A primary goal was to put the health & safety of participants, suppliers and partners at a premium. 

"I am very proud of the work that the team produced, we have left no stone unturned, but following further discussions with stakeholders at all levels the decisions has been taken to cancel the tournament for 2020."

"It is certainly with a heavy heart that we make today's announcement, the tournament has taken place every year for the past 51 years, so I appreciate the impact that cancellation has on both the sporting and the local community. It is the correct decision with the health and safety of all at the forefront. We were incredibly close to making this happen, but ultimately we have fallen at the last hurdle."

"I would like to thank the Dubai Sports Council and UAERF for their support as we have explored the opportunity to host the tournament. It's also important to recognise the ongoing support of our partners; Emirates, dnata, Heineken, ARN and MMI. Without this support, the event would not have been possible at all."

The organising team now turn their attention to planning for 'The Return' in 2021. Work is already underway to ensure that the next edition of the tournament is a spectacular event mixing world-class sport, mass participation and the best entertainment as Dubai welcomes the world of rugby 7s to the desert once again.

Team entries for the 2021 tournament will open earlier than ever due to unprecedented demand with the details to follow on timelines next month.

The organising team will be announcing several new Dubai 7s events and programs that will take place across the winter including the Dubai 7s schools legacy program, The Dubai 7s Development program and the launch of cutting edge content including the 'The Face of Dubai 7s' and the 'Tales from the Sand' Podcast.

Burwell commented on the winter plans "I am excited. Not only for what will be a phenomenal return for the tournament in 2021 but also for our projects this winter. Of course, we need to be COVID-19 aware, and all programs will have the relevant health & safety processes built-in. Still, it's an exciting time for the Dubai 7s as we engage with new audiences via different channels both physically and digitally. 

"The Legacy Program & the Elite Development program are going to be cutting edge ways for the tournament to use the sports that take place each year as vehicles for the development for young boys & girls on and off the field. Some of the best players and coaches in the world will be travelling to Dubai to share their knowledge and experience."

Follow the @Dubai7s Instagram & Twitter channels for the most up to date information about 2020 or visit the website on www.dubairugby7s.com

The Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens

Established in 1970 and organised annually by Emirates Airline, the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens is one the world's leading international sevens event. Every year the tournament welcomes to The Sevens Stadium over 300 rugby & netball teams. 

Since 1999, the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens has been a part of World Rugby’s HSBC Sevens Series. The Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens is the only tournament globally that has featured on every year of both the Men & Women’s World Series.

ENDS

Released on behalf of the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens. For further information, please contact Lucy Plumb (English-language media) +971 56 996 4677 or by email on Dubai.7s@thesevens.ae

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