The Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens kicks off tomorrow at The Sevens Stadium and is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The event has reached a significant milestone in its journey of promoting the sport of rugby along with offering world-class entertainment for the players and fans all in one place. Over 100,000 fans will descend on The Sevens Stadium from all over the world this weekend, showcasing how far the tournament has come over the past 50 years and how it is now the biggest sporting weekend in the UAE. With free entry tomorrow combined with the chance to watch the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series men’s and women’s teams in action on pitch 1, the atmosphere will be one of a kind.
The Emirates Airline Rugby Invitation Tournament will also host over 230 teams from all over the world who will battle it out in 15 sections and fans may be lucky enough to spot a number of rugby legends on the pitches. Over 60 teams will compete as part of the 5th Emirates Airline Invitation Netball Tournament – a record number of teams since the competition launched.
Speaking at the pre-tournament Press Conference today Gary Chapman, President dnata and Group Services said: “As the title sponsor and staunch supporter, we are proud of how this event has continued to grow stronger every year. The Dubai Rugby Sevens is part of Dubai’s history as its longest running sporting event. It’s great to see how the event is still bringing people together after 50 years and how it is an unmissable date in so many calendars.
“This year, there is so much in store – from brilliant, nonstop, on-field entertainment all weekend with over 300 rugby teams, an expanded netball programme with over 60 teams competing, a waterpark in the rugby village, more F&B options and concepts and a great new ‘Studio 50’ themed VIP hospitality product. And of course, Kylie Minogue in concert is the icing on the cake for what will be an unforgettable weekend.”
World Rugby Chairman, Sir Bill Beaumont, commented: “The Dubai Sevens marks the start of a new era for rugby sevens as the first of a record six combined men’s and women’s tournaments on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on the horizon.
“Dubai Sevens is a prestigious tournament on the world series and is always a fantastic event for both players and fans, and we look forward to celebrating 50 successful years this coming weekend. Congratulations to our hosts for consistently delivering year-on-year and we wish all teams the best of luck.”
Qais Al Dhalai, President, Asia Rugby & Secretary General, UAE Rugby Federation, said: “We congratulate ourselves, and all rugby fraternity across the UAE on the occasion of the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens 50th anniversary. As hosts, the UAE Rugby Federation is extremely proud to have a close association with, and be an integral part of this auspicious occasion.
“Rugby, as a sport, enjoys strong commitment from the UAE Rugby community, evident by over 3,500 registered players participating in UAE’s various sevens and fifteen domestic leagues, and most notably at grass-roots we now see over 118,000 Emirati-children playing rugby, post-inking the historical memorandum of association with the Ministry of Education as part of our highly successful Player Pathway Program. The Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens, as undoubtedly the premier Rugby Sevens event in the UAE and a firm favourite on the international stage, continues to be an influencing factor in the popularity of our sport across the UAE.
“UAERF Board wishes World Rugby, Emirates Airline, HSBC, all international and UAE-based teams, and spectators another spectacular and successful Dubai Rugby Sevens, and we look forward to celebrating its 50th anniversary which coincides with the UAE’s 48th Anniversary.”
One of the biggest event highlights will be the performance of international pop-singer Kylie Minogue in concert on Friday 6th December on Pitch 2. There will also be endless entertainment options in the village featuring international DJs, artists and bands as part of the Heineken three-day music festival. The biggest of the areas (The Green Tavern Tent) will be dedicated all weekend to the decade that started it all – the 70s. From there, guests can step into an 80s disco in the Green Room and a 90s Rock zone in the Green Space on Friday. On Saturday, both areas will be transformed to pay tribute to the 00s and 10s – taking guests on a full 50-year journey of Rugby celebration. The full music schedule can be viewed here.
Alongside this world-class entertainment, this year’s tribute artist, Freddy Mercury, will be entertaining fans in the stands on pitch 1. Flying in from UK, Mana Cheerleaders, a group of very talented cheerleaders will showcase some terrific routines and add in a little twist of their own take of the 70’s theme! It should come as no surprise that the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens is going big with celebrations this year and the tournament will unquestionably be the talk of the town for a long time.