Moscow on track to host RWC Sevens 2013
As Moscow continues its preparation to host Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013, confidence is high that the event will be a spectacular experience for fans and teams, while providing the catalyst to accelerate Rugby’s rapid growth in Russia.
Officials from tournament owners Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) held a series of meetings with the Rugby Union of Russia (RUR) and representatives from the City of Moscow and Russian Government and they are impressed by the advancing preparations and excited by plans to engage and entertain visiting fans from Russia and around the world.
The prestigious event, hosted at the iconic Luzhniki Olympic Park in Moscow from June 28-30, is on track to take the Sevens experience a step further with a cultural, music and food festival set to provide an additional dimension to a sport that is globally renowned for its high-quality entertainment on and off the field of play.
Working in partnership with the City of Moscow and Russian Government, the RUR has been able to implement an attractive ticketing programme, starting at just US$5 to attract a new wave of Rugby fans.
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RWCL Board Director and Chairman of the Welsh Rugby Union, David Pickering said: "There is no doubt that Moscow 2013 will be a sensational event on and off the field. I have been impressed with the progress that has been made by all parties. The City of Moscow has truly bought into the Sevens ethos of an exciting fan experience and from what we have seen, Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 promises to be Rugby's biggest party."
RWCL Managing Director Brett Gosper added: "It will be a special event for fans and teams. Moscow has an exceptional record of delivering successful major sports and entertainment events. We are sure fans will love using Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 as a platform to promote Moscow's vibrant entertainment culture at a venue in the very heart of the city."
"Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 will be more than a Rugby event for Russia. It will be a platform to reach out to new fans throughout the country and raise awareness of an Olympic sport that continues to grow in interest and participation.
"We have had some positive meetings on areas including the ticketing programme, venue planning and accommodation and also received a positive update on the official travel programme which was recently launched and reaches out to travelling supporters from around the world."
Rugby is accelerating in growth and interest, boosted by the country's love and support of Olympic sports. A strong schools programme in the Moscow region, two professional leagues with strong attendances and a passion for major sports events points to a very strong crowd at the Luzhniki Olympic Park.
RUR President Vyacheslav Kopiev said: "With less than 250 days before the biggest party on the Rugby Sevens calendar kicks off, the Rugby Union of Russia is confident that we have in place all the ingredients for a memorable and successful event. The Luzhniki Stadium is a proven theatre for major sporting events and with Russians embracing Rugby, the newest Olympic sport, we are confident that fans from near and far will be attracted to an event that is an incredible experience for sports lovers of all ages."
The global qualification process for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 is reaching its climax. So far 20 of the 24 men's nations and 15 of the 16 women's nations have been determined. Russia 2013 will see history being made with the Tunisia and Fiji women's teams competing at a Rugby World Cup Sevens for the first time.
Nine men's teams have directly qualified for RWC Sevens 2013. There are a further 15 available qualification spots, making a total of 24 teams in the competition. The automatic qualifiers are defending champions Wales, Kenya, South Africa, Fiji, New Zealand, Samoa, England, Argentina and hosts Russia.
So far Spain, France, Georgia, Scotland, Portugal, Australia, Tonga, Canada, USA, Zimbabwe and Tunisia have qualified via the regional process. The final qualification events are Asia (Singapore) in November (3 places) and South America (Rio de Janeiro) in February (1 place).
Five teams directly qualified for the women's competition in defending champions Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, USA and hosts Russia. There are a further 11 places available via the qualification process for the 16-team competition and so far England, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Ireland, Canada, Tunisia, Fiji, China and Japan have secured a place via the global qualification process. The final event takes place in Rio de Janeiro in February when the one remaining place will be filled by the South American champions.
The tournament website can be found at www.rwcsevens.com.