Dubai’s annual rugby sevens tournament has been canceled for the first time in its 51-year history due to concerns over COVID-19, organizers announced on Wednesday.
The international rugby tournament was due to be held in the first week of December but has now been canceled by its organizers, World Rugby, alongside its sister tournament in South Africa.
“While we share in the disappointment of players, teams, fans, hosts and everyone involved with the popular events in Dubai and Cape Town, this is a prudent decision taken with the health and wellbeing of the global rugby community and wider society as our top priority and guided by the relevant government and international public health authority advice,” said World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper in an online statement.
The statement added that World Rugby would be focusing on planning for the 2021 Series and the build-up to the postponed Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“We are of course disappointed not to be hosting the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens for the first time in 51 years, but we understand the extraordinary circumstances surrounding today’s cancellation of the opening tournaments of the new season,” added Dnata & Emirates Group Services President Gary Chapman.
The Rugby Sevens is attended by thousands of people each year and witnesses rugby teams of seven players compete to win the World Sevens Series.