Dubai Rugby Sevens, a marquee event in the city's sporting calendar, plans to make a strong comeback next year. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News archive

Dubai: After the cancellation of the proposed Emirates Airline Dubai 7s local tournament in the first week of December, the organising team has now turned their attention to planning for ‘The Return’ in 2021.

Tournament Director Tom Burwell has assured that work is already underway to ensure that the next leg of the World Sevens Series event is a spectacular one mixing world class sport, mass participation and the best entertainment as Dubai welcomes the world of rugby 7s to the desert once again.

Team entries for the 2021 tournament will open earlier than ever due to unprecedented demand with the details to follow on timelines next month.

The proposed Emirates Airline Dubai 7s local tournament, that was scheduled to be held on December 4-5, had to be cancelled earlier this week due to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.

Work had already started on a local mass-participation competition consisting of rugby, netball and cricket but earlier this week, the organisers concluded with regional stakeholders, commercial partners and government institutions that it would be a tough ask to plan and safely deliver an event that is worthy of living up to the 51-year legacy of Dubai 7s.

The organising team will now be announcing several new Dubai 7s events and programmes that will take place across the winter including the Dubai 7s schools legacy programme. The Dubai 7s Development programme includes the launch of cutting-edge content along with the ‘The Face of Dubai 7s’ and the ‘Tales from the Sand’ Podcast.

“I am excited not only for what will be a phenomenal return for the tournament in 2021, but also for our projects this winter. Of course, we need to be COVID-19 aware, and all programmes will have the relevant health and safety processes built-in,” Burwell assured.

“It’s an exciting time for the Dubai 7s as we engage with new audiences via different channels both physically and digitally. The Legacy Programme and the Elite Development programme are going to be cutting edge ways for the tournament to use the sports that take place each year as vehicles for the development for young boys and girls on and off the field. Some of the best players and coaches in the world will be travelling to Dubai to share their knowledge and experience,” he added.