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Hong Kong Rugby Sevens is again. Rugby union says demand is excessive regardless of Covid measures

Demand to attend Hong Kong Rugby Sevens is high despite Covid rules: Hong Kong Rugby Union

The Hong Kong Rugby Sevens match kicks off Friday for the primary time since Covid-19 hit.

Whereas town’s pandemic rules stay strict, Chris Brooke, chairman of the Hong Kong Rugby Union, claimed demand to attend the occasion stays excessive.

“I feel individuals are wanting ahead to a enjoyable weekend. These restrictions are there however I do not suppose it takes away from the important thing components of the Sevens — which is nice rugby, leisure and a enjoyable weekend,” Brooke mentioned. 

The match can be held on the 40,000-seat Hong Kong Stadium, however the authorities has capped seats at 85% capability, permitting solely as much as 34,000 spectators every day. Brooke mentioned about 26,500 tickets have been bought and a majority of attendees are more likely to be Hong Kong residents.

Earlier than the pandemic, the three day sporting occasion might simply draw a complete of 120,000 spectators. In 2019, abroad guests accounted for half of attendees and the match contributed roughly 400 million Hong Kong {dollars} ($50 million) to town’s financial system, in accordance with Reuters.

As a substitute of the standard 24 groups, solely 16 groups can be competing on the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens this 12 months. There can even be no girls’s match this time round.

The Fiji workforce has received the match 5 occasions in a row and can play their first match towards Japan on Friday.

The principles

Regardless of regional neighbors abandoning most of their Covid-19 measures, a lot of Hong Kong’s pandemic guidelines stay in place.

On the match, spectators can be seated in teams of 12 and should maintain their face masks on always when they don’t seem to be consuming meals or drinks, in accordance with the Hong Kong Sevens web site. 

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In accordance with authorities’s guidelines, attendees are required to current their Go away House Protected Vaccine Move and a photograph of a fast antigen take a look at with their identify and date, the positioning mentioned. 

Gamers are additionally topic to Covid rules and should keep inside a quarantine bubble, just like how athletes had been stored protected throughout the Winter Olympics in Beijing earlier this 12 months. 

“They’re very constructive about being right here … They’re very blissful to undergo that course of to verify they’ll get on the pitch,” mentioned Brooke. 

Navigating the foundations has been tough for the Hong Kong Rugby Union, which depends on the Rugby Sevens for many of its income. 

Brooke mentioned the group needed to considerably lower spending during the last two years and slashed headcount by 50%. 

“We have at all times been conscious of the reliance on the Sevens and we have at all times been making an attempt to cut back that pre-Covid as effectively … We acknowledge that we have to take a look at various income streams,” Brooke mentioned.

“It’s fairly difficult, however I feel the main focus going ahead can be to make sure that we have a very good steadiness between the Sevens revenue and different income sources,” he added. 

Nonetheless, Brooke is optimistic that the rugby union is shifting in the correct path and is hoping for a very good mixture of native and worldwide spectators in 2023. 

“It would be nice if we are able to get these main occasions going over the following three to 4 months as a result of I feel it actually helps the local people and clearly helps [Hong Kong’s] standing as a global hub.” 

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