Statement on cancellation of Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2021 取消舉辦「國泰航空/滙豐香港國際七人欖球賽2021」聲明

[Hong Kong, 4 August 2021]: Given growing uncertainty over emerging coronavirus variants and on-going travel restrictions globally, the Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) and World Rugby have taken the difficult decision to cancel the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2021, which was scheduled for 5-7 November.


The decision follows detailed and constructive dialogue with World Rugby and the participating unions and relevant Hong Kong government bodies and has been taken with the health and wellbeing of the rugby community and the wider public as top priority.


The HKRU has exerted significant efforts to stage the tournament in 2021, including consulting professional medical advisors, and planning to implement physically distanced seating, full on-ground bubbling of teams and operations staff, and a split in schedule into daily time-limited sessions to allow for enhanced venue sanitizing.


However, the difficulties and uncertainties around travel restrictions and the rising global concern over emerging variants, combined with the pressing timelines behind staging one of Hong Kong’s premier international events - now just 92 days out from kick-off - made hosting the tournament to the HKRU’s exacting standards unfeasible.


Continued restrictions around international travel have significantly complicated the participation of numerous teams for November, including those from high-risk travel areas that are forbidden from entering Hong Kong at present. Increasing domestic lockdowns and tightening quarantine restrictions around outbound travel present further complications for teams from across the world.


The HKRU remains fully supportive of community virus suppression efforts in Hong Kong, and its paramount interest is to avoid any risk to the safety of athletes, officials, spectators and staff, and the wider community at the present time.


“We are of course disappointed not to host the world-famous Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens in 2021,” said Mr Robbie McRobbie, Chief Executive of the HKRU.


“While in many ways we are even better prepared to host than we were a year ago, concerns over the Delta variant and intensifying travel restrictions have complicated matters significantly. Given these trends, the decision to cancel was painful, but not difficult, particularly with expectations high that with vaccination rates increasing daily, we can welcome the Sevens back in true rugby style in April.


“After watching a stirring Olympic sevens, we know that fans will be disappointed at this news, but rest assured, we are busy preparing for a spectacular Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens in exactly 239 days, but who’s counting? We are already planning 2022, and looking forward to returning with an event that will be one of the most memorable in our 45-year history.


“We’re also very encouraged by the progress Hong Kong has made in suppressing the virus. Given the success of these community-wide efforts, thousands of players from four to 40-plus can look forward to the return of rugby at the end of summer. For some this will be the first competitive action they have had in over a year, so we are also busy planning a very special season ahead,” added McRobbie.


No tickets were placed on sale for the 2021 tournament.


The HKRU remains appreciative of the significant and sustained efforts exerted by all parties including the participating teams, World Rugby, other tournament hosts, HKRU commercial partners, and of course the athletes themselves.


The 2022 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens is scheduled for 1-3 April.



[2021年8月4日,香港]: 鑑於新出現的新冠肺炎變種病毒和全球持續的旅遊限制等不確定性增加,香港欖球總會(欖總)和國際欖球理事會(World Rugby)作出艱難的決定,今宣佈取消原定於11月5日至7日舉行的「國泰航空/滙豐香港國際七人欖球賽2021」。


這決定是由國際欖球理事會、參與的欖球總會,以及香港特別行政區政府相關部門經詳細的對話後作出,並將欖球界和廣大市民的健康和福祉作為首要考慮。


欖總一直致力籌備2021年的賽事,包括諮詢專業的醫療顧問、計劃實施觀眾席社交距離、參賽隊伍和場地工作人員全面氣泡隔離措施,以及在賽程中騰出空檔以加強場地消毒。


然而,隨著全球對變種病毒的擔憂不斷增加,以及旅遊限制帶來的難度和變數,再加上籌備這香港國際體壇盛事的時間緊迫 (現在距離開賽只剩下92天),令欖總要以嚴格的標準舉辦賽事變成不可能的任務。


持續的全球旅遊限制使很多將在11月來港參賽的隊伍面對更多困難 ,包括那些身處於目前被禁止進入香港的高風險地區的隊伍。越來越多的地區採取封城措施和加強對出境外遊的隔離限制給來自世界各地的隊伍帶來更複雜的環境。


欖總將繼續全力支持香港的抗疫工作,目前最重要的是避免對運動員、工作人員、觀眾和員工,以及廣大市民的安全造成任何風險。


欖總行政總裁麥偉彬(Robbie McRobbie)說:「我們當然對未能舉辦享譽全球的『國泰航空/滙豐香港國際七人欖球賽2021』感到失望。


我們在多方面的準備功夫已較一年前更加充足,但Delta 變種病毒和加強旅遊限制的擔憂使問題變得非常複雜。因應事態發展而取消賽事的決定是痛苦,但過程中並無太多掙扎,尤其是隨著疫苗接種率正每日增加,相信明年4月的『香港國際七人欖球賽』能夠如願上演。」


「在欣賞了精彩的奧運七人欖球賽後,我們知道球迷會對這消息感到失望,但我們保證,我們正積極在接下來的239天內籌備一個具觀賞性的『國泰航空/滙豐香港國際七人欖球賽』。我們已為2022年作好準備,並期待回歸的賽事將是45年以來最令人難忘的回憶之一。 」


麥偉彬續說:「我們對本地的抗疫成效感到鼓舞。在廣大公眾的努力下,數千名4至40歲以上的球員可期待在暑假末重新投入欖球運動。對於部份人來說,這是他們一年多以來的第一場比賽,所以我們也忙於籌劃一個非常特別的球季。」


2021年的賽事並未有發售任何門票。


欖總感激所有單位,包括參賽隊伍、國際欖球理事會、其他賽事主辦單位、欖總的商業夥伴和運動員等各方的重大付出和不懈努力。


「國泰航空/滙豐香港國際七人欖球賽2022」定於4月1日至3日舉行。


資料來源 : Elite Step Asia Limited / Hong Kong Rugby Union

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