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drive Rugby and the Olympic Movement

A global success story Rugby continues to grow around the world

A sport with Games at the heart Rugby has made four appearance at the Olympic Games

A perfect fit

Sevens would be a popular addition to the Games


Olympic Games

would be a showcase for Rugby’s unique offer.”

we can truely compete on a worldwide level.

I’m delighted to have this opportunity to present our compelling case for Rugby to be reincluded in the Olympic Games. Rugby has come a long way in the 12 or more years of the professional era. Now, if we’re to keep driving forward, we must strive to broaden our reach. It is the same imperative facing every sport in today’s competitive global culture. Like other major sports Rugby needs needs a bigger presence in the emerging markets of Asia and eastern Europe. The Olympic campaign is a test of our ambition as a sport. It will help demonstrate whether

Success would bring a new pinnacle for the discipline of Sevens. It would also deliver fantastic benefits for the Game at large. The Olympic Games would be a showcase for Rugby’s unique offer. It would inspire new audiences, unlock funding and generate new commercial opportunities. And it would act as a catalyst for global development at every level of the sport. Together, and for millions worldwide, Sevens and the Olympic Games could prove the gateway to the sport of Rugby.


The Olympic Games is the world’s biggest sporting and TV event. It offers an unrivalled platform, reaching two-thirds of the world’s population and delivering unparalleled

commercial leverage for those within the Olympic Family. The Games has the power to unlock funding for Rugby in countries where the sport is developing.

the world’s biggest sporting and TV event

It offers to accelerate the development work that’s already growing and strengthening the sport - both in emerging Rugby nations and in key new markets worldwide.

A global opportunity

The Melrose Sevens is born


IOC founder Pierre de Coubertin referees the first ever French Rugby championship final

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William Webb Ellis picks up the ball at Rugby School




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A sport with the Games at heart Rugby has a strong connection with the Olympic Movement; our stories have shared roots and values. In 1886 Pierre de Coubertin made a visit to Rugby School – the place where William Webb-Ellis was first inspired to pick up a ball and run.

de Coubertin helped to establish in 1894. Six years later, de Coubertin personally oversaw Rugby’s introduction to the Paris Games of 1900. The sport featured again in 1908, 1920 and 1924.


The USA beat France at the Antwerp Games to take the gold medal.


The USA successfully defend their title at the Paris Games

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Australia win the gold medal at the London Games




Hosts France win the first Olympic Rugby gold medal after beating Great Britain in the final



That spirit still lives on in the sport of Rugby and in the International Olympic Committee: the body


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De Coubertin gained inspiration from Rugby school’s educational ethos – a philosophy reflected in the sport to which it gave its name. A sport with a unique spirit.

Pierre de Coubertin was inducted into the

IRB Hall of Fame

in 2007

A global success story

Inclusion in the Olympic Programme is one element of the International Rugby Board’s vision for further development of the sport. It’s a vision that stresses Rugby’s unique ethos while embracing

change and innovation – and has already delivered spectacular global growth since 1995.

drew 2.2m spectators, four billion on TV, and was backed by millions in commercial sponsorship.

Nowhere has this success been more in evidence than at Rugby World Cup. The 2007 tournament

And these results were replicated at the Rugby World Cup Sevens, which attracted full houses of 50,000 each

day for three days in 2005, and will do the same in 2009, when there will be both a men’s and a women’s tournament in Dubai.

3 milion active players worldwide

Growth of Rugby Total Attendance (RWC)

Total Cumulative Television Audience (RWC) 1987-2007 1987 New Zealand 230 m

1987 New Zealand 600,000

1991 UK and France 1.4 bn

1991 UK and France 1,000,000

1995 South Africa 2.3 bn

1995 South Africa 1,100,000

1999 UK and France 3.1 bn

1999 UK and France 1,700,000

2003 Australia 3.4 bn

2003 Australia 1,900,000

2007 France 4.2 bn * record

2007 France 2,240,000 * record

Italian and Czechoslovak RFUs founded


First club match in the Soviet Union

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Japan RFU founded; Caribbean RFU founded




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Sevens is the fastestgrowing form of the sport – played by the quickest and fittest players.

In 2008, 32 national teams took part in the IRB Sevens World Series – the annual series that is played in eight different countries to sell-out crowds with a global TV reach of 500m.

Sevens has also proven a popular – and straightforward – addition to many Continental Games, including the Asian and Commonwealth Games and from 2011 the Pan American Games.

Its accessibility is used both as a player development pathway and a Game growth tool by many Unions around the world.

Both of which benefit not only the Sevens Game, but the Fifteena-side Game and Rugby in general.

A global TV reach of 500m

Why Sevens?

The Melrose Sevens celebrates its centenary


England beat Australia to lift the first Rugby World Cup Sevens title

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The first Hong Kong Sevens Tournament takes place




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Rugby and the Olympic Games:

a perfect match

The world’s greatest sporting event would be a new pinnacle for Sevens – a showcase for a model professional sport with passionate travelling fans. The Olympic Games would deliver a new profile for Rugby. New audiences. New commercial opportunities. And, perhaps, new giants of the Game. Emboldened by the opportunity;

The IRB mark the 80 year anniversary of Rugby’s last Olympic appearance with a special match in Bordeaux.


Those emerging Unions that have so long promised to contend at the highest level. And beyond them, the key investment markets of North America, Russia and Asia, for whom Sevens and the Olympic Games would be a gateway to Rugby at large.

The sixth Rugby World Cup takes place in France. South Africa beat England in the final

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The first official Women’s Rugby World Cup is held in the Netherlands




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strengthened by access to significant new funding that will flow into the Game with Olympic status.

What happens next? In October 2009, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will meet in Copenhagen, Denmark to determine the sports programme for the 2016 Olympic Games. There are two vacant slots in the Olympic Programme. If Rugby is to successfully claim one of them we must convince teh IOC of


Everyone in Rugby – and in sport – needs to know how much, and why, we want to be part of the Olympic Games. Talk to your National Olympic Committee and get in contact with your IOC Member. Tell them about our key

The seventh Rugby World Cup takes place in New Zealand

messages which you can see on the back page. Make sure you also take part in the IOC’s virtual Olympic Congress, a public consultation running until December 31, 2008. For details, visit and click on IOC Virtual Congress.



The fifth Rugby World Cup Sevens takes place in Dubai




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the merits of Rugby as a global game with a unique ethos – and a passionate following.

The 2016 Games take place

Rugby’s participation in the Olympic Games will: l Act

as a catalyst and showcase for our sport’s global development





 nlock significant new funding for U Rugby worldwide, at every level  stablish Sevens as a global pathway to E all forms of Rugby  raw new fans, sponsors and D broadcasters to Rugby  ffer Rugby’s travelling supporters the O unique experience of the Olympic Games


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