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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 event 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 persons are trying ahead to a enjoyable weekend. These restrictions are there however I do not assume it takes away from the important thing elements of the Sevens — which is nice rugby, leisure and a enjoyable weekend,” Brooke mentioned. 

The event will likely 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 offered 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 event contributed roughly 400 million Hong Kong {dollars} ($50 million) to town’s financial system, in accordance with Reuters.

As an alternative of the same old 24 groups, solely 16 groups will likely be competing on the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens this 12 months. There may also be no ladies’s event this time round.

The Fiji staff has gained the event 5 occasions in a row and can play their first match in opposition to Japan on Friday.

The principles

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

On the event, spectators will likely be seated in teams of 12 and must preserve 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 Secure Vaccine Go and a photograph of a speedy antigen take a look at with their title and date, the location mentioned. 

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

“They’re very constructive about being right here … They’re very completely happy to undergo that course of to ensure they will 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 minimize spending during the last two years and slashed headcount by 50%. 

“We have all the time been conscious of the reliance on the Sevens and we have all the time been attempting to cut back that pre-Covid as effectively … We acknowledge that we have to have a look at different income streams,” Brooke mentioned.

“It’s fairly difficult, however I feel the main target going ahead will likely be to make sure that we have got a superb steadiness between the Sevens revenue and different income sources,” he added. 

Nonetheless, Brooke is optimistic that the rugby union is shifting in the appropriate course and is hoping for a superb mixture of native and worldwide spectators in 2023. 

“It would be nice if we will 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 world hub.” 

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