Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens rescheduled to November 2022 「國泰航空/滙豐香港國際七人欖球賽」延期至下年 11 月舉行

[HONG KONG, 16 November 2021]: The Hong Kong Rugby Union and World Rugby today announced the rescheduling of April’s Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens to 4-6 November 2022, when it will serve as the opening event of next season’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.


The postponement marks the fifth time the Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) has had to reschedule or cancel the Sevens since the pandemic’s emergence in 2020, and comes in response to the continuing uncertainty surrounding travel measures facing participating teams.


It is the longest postponement to date, at a full 12 months, and the hope remains that the interim period will see continued growth in vaccination rates locally and abroad, and the opening of Hong Kong’s border with China and internationally to allow the Hong Kong Sevens to mark its 45th staging without disruption and with a full complement of teams.


When offered an opportunity to kick off the Series in November by World Rugby, the HKRU felt it was in the best interests of the tournament, the teams and fans, to reschedule. It will be the first time since kicking off in 1976 that the Hong Kong Sevens will be played outside of spring. Hong Kong will host a second event in the 2023 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series six months after November’s return, in its customary April window, doubling the enjoyment for fans.


“The HKRU has been consistent in our message that we can deliver the Sevens without jeopardising the success of community health efforts which we support, but this requires a confidence that all participating teams can be allowed to travel and the ability to host the event to our own high standard, which we cannot guarantee. Given this remains impossible to predict for April, our only remedy is to postpone to remove any uncertainty for teams, fans, and our operations financially,” said HKRU Chief Executive Robbie McRobbie.


McRobbie stressed the rugby community’s staunch support of local health efforts saying, “We back 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, and hope that this can be achieved by next November,” added McRobbie.


“We understand that fans at home and abroad will be disappointed, but we appeal to their continued patience and support,” said McRobbie.


The consecutive postponements have forced the HKRU to exhaust its financial reserves after an accumulated pandemic-related loss to date of HK$200 million, and reduce headcount by more than 40%, including closing its professional players programme.


Similar effects have been felt across the sports community said McRobbie: “The longer that government supported M Mark international sports events are unable to be staged, the higher the risk that they disappear from their international calendars entirely, doing lasting harm to their sports and our community, and ironically leaving the city bereft of world class events just as Kai Tak Sports Park prepares to open its doors.”


Given the continued uncertainty regarding hosting, no tickets for the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2022 have been sold.


The Hong Kong Sevens

Established in 1976 and organised annually by the Hong Kong Rugby Union, the Hong Kong Sevens is the world’s premier international sevens event, marking its 45th year in 2020. Since 1999, the Hong Kong Sevens has been a part of World Rugby’s HSBC Sevens Series. The Hong Kong Rugby Union is the only international rugby union to have hosted two Rugby World Cup Sevens, in 1997 and 2005.


Hong Kong Rugby Union

The Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) was founded in 1952, and became an affiliated union of World Rugby in 1988. In 1968, the HKRU became a founding member of Asia Rugby and remains committed to the development of the game in Asia. In 2008, the HKRU presented the first neutral-venue Bledisloe Cup – followed by a second match in 2010. In 2013, the HKRU hosted the first British & Irish Lions match played in Asia and the following year hosted the first regional Olympic qualifier tournament for Rugby Sevens. The HKRU is a member of the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China and provides competitive and social rugby opportunities for men and women at every age and skill level.


Information and Photo source : Elite Step Asia Ltd. / Hong Kong Rugby Union


[2021 年 11 月 16 日,香港]: 香港欖球總會(欖總)和國際欖球理事會(World Rugby)今宣佈原定於明年四月舉行的「國泰航空/滙豐香港國際七人欖球賽」將再度 延期至 2022 年 11 月 4 日至 6 日舉行,屆時,此賽事將作為下季「滙豐世界七人欖球 系列賽」的揭幕戰上演。


自 2020 年新冠肺炎疫情大流行以來,為應對參賽隊伍因旅遊限制而面臨的不確定因 素,欖總已第五次延期或取消「香港國際七人欖球賽」。


是次延期是至今最長的一次,宣佈延期之日與賽事舉行日期間相距整整 12 個月。欖總 希望在此期間,全球疫苗接種率將繼續增長,而香港的邊境也能逐漸開放,讓第 45 屆 「香港國際七人欖球賽」可順利迎接所有隊伍蒞臨參賽。


當國際欖球理事會提出將賽事延期至來年 11 月舉辦時,欖總認為此項安排符合賽事、 參賽隊伍及球迷的最佳利益。在此安排下,「香港國際七人欖球賽」將自 1976 年以來 首次在春天以外的時間上演。緊接 2022 年 11 月賽事舉行後六個月,香港將在 2023 年 4 月的傳統賽事檔期内再舉辦「2023 滙豐七人欖球系列賽」賽事,為球迷帶來雙倍 喜樂。


欖總行政總裁麥偉彬(Robbie McRobbie)表示:「欖總一直有信心在守護抗疫成果及 公眾健康的前提下舉辦『香港國際七人欖球賽』,但我們無法確保來年 4 月所有參賽 隊伍都能自由出入境,以及賽事能以高水準上演。故此,我們唯有將賽事再次押後, 從而消解球隊、球迷的顧慮以及欖總在營運財務上面臨的各種不確定性。」


麥偉彬強調欖球社區對本地抗疫工作的全力支持,他說:「我們一直支持政府鼓勵社 區疫苗接種的努力,對於欖總所有員工和職業運動員都已經完成了兩劑疫苗接種,我 們感到驕傲。我們相信鼓勵疫苗接種是加快安全通關的最有效方法,並寄望在明年 11 月之前國際商業、旅遊和體育賽事能夠全面恢復。」


麥偉彬補充說:「我們明白世界各地的球迷都難免對此感到失望,但我們懇請他們繼續耐心等待。」


欖總自疫情大流行至今已累計虧損 2 億港元,「香港國際七人欖球賽」連番延期更迫 使欖總用盡財政儲備、裁減了超過百分之四十的員工,並結束了其職業球員計劃。


麥偉彬表示整個體育界都受到嚴重衝擊,他說:「若政府所支持的 M 品牌大型體育活 動長時間無法舉辦,它們在國際賽程中消失的風險便會越來越大,對該等運動項目和 體育社區都會造成永久傷害。更諷刺是,當啟德體育園開幕之際,香港可能已經沒有 國際賽事可以舉辦了。」


鑒於賽事舉辦面臨諸多不確定性,「國泰航空/滙豐香港國際七人欖球賽 2022」並未 發售任何門票。


關於香港國際七人欖球賽

香港國際七人欖球賽於 1976 年首次舉辦,在 2020 年慶祝 45 週年;經過多年來的努力經營, 賽事已成為享譽國際的七人欖球盛事。1999 年,香港國際七人欖球賽正式成為世界七人欖球 系列賽分站之一。時至今日,也是「滙豐世界七人欖球系列賽」唯一有 28 支勁旅參賽的分 站,冠絕其他分站。香港欖球總會是唯一的國際欖球總會成員曾兩度(1997 年及 2005 年)主辦 欖球世界盃賽。


關於香港欖球總會

香港欖球總會於 1952 年成立,是國際欖球理事會(World Rugby)成員之一,也是亞洲欖球總會 (ARFU)的創始成員之一。香港欖球總會致力推動本港及亞洲區的欖球發展。總會是「國泰航空 /滙豐香港國際七人欖球賽」的主辦單位,也是唯一主辦過兩次七人欖球世界盃賽事的欖球總 會(1997 年及 2005 年)。總會積極把國際頂級欖球賽事帶給香港及區內球迷,著名的「比迪素 盃」分別在 2008 年及 2010 年在港舉行,而國際勁旅 British& Irish Lions 亦於 2013 年首度在港 作賽。在本地欖球方面,每年的成人欖球聯賽共 70 多支男、女子欖球隊競逐冠軍寶座;除此 以外,大專、學校、青少年及小型欖球聯賽及各類型的錦標賽均有助推動和普及欖球在社區各 層面的發展。


資料及相片來源 : Elite Step Asia Ltd. / 香港欖球總會

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