Fans set to return at Dubai Sevens as part of major changes to series

Traditional tournament on National Day weekend to be preceded by behind-closed-door event at The Sevens

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Fans are set to be admitted to the Emirates Dubai Sevens on National Day weekend, the organisers have announced.

The tournament was cancelled for the first time in its history in 2020 because of Covid-19.

The HSBC World Sevens Series continues to be hindered by the effects of the pandemic, with Dubai now set to play a key role in its return.

The Dubai Sevens will return to its traditional slot on the holiday weekend, from December 3-4. There are plans in place for spectators to attend.

That event will also be preceded by a behind-closed-doors tournament a week earlier, on November 26-27, at the same venue.

The twin tournaments will represent the first two legs of the 2022 World Sevens Series season, with the rest of the circuit yet to be announced.

The news follows a number of cancellations to other tournaments, and a major reorganisation of the schedule.

Tournaments that were due to be staged in Singapore and Cape Town will now not go ahead.

Sydney and Hamilton, in New Zealand, which were due to stage legs of the 2022 series, have also been cancelled, with organisers hoping to announce replacement venues for those later this month.

The entire 2021 series will be accounted for during a double-header of tournaments in Canada, in Vancouver on September 18-19, and Edmonton the following weekend.

“World Rugby and the host organisations have taken these disappointing but necessary decisions with the health and welfare of players, fans and the wider public as top priority,” the sport’s governing body said in a statement.

A number of core teams on the series will be unable to compete in Canada due to travel complications caused by the coronavirus.

The same issue is likely to face teams from New Zealand, Australia, and the Pacific Island nations in particular ahead of the two tournaments in Dubai.

Despite the difficulties, Tom Burwell, the Emirates Dubai Sevens tournament director, is delighted the tournament will be able to take its place back on the sports calendar.

“We are excited to welcome back the world of rugby sevens to Dubai this November and December," Burwell said.

“We have always been very proud to kick off the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series each year.

“To once again take our place at the beginning of the new season is something that Dubai is very proud of, with the first Emirates Dubai Sevens being behind closed doors before a huge celebration to open the series for 2022 as we welcome teams and fans from all over the world to The Sevens Stadium.”

Updated: September 04, 2021, 2:36 PM