Exclusive: RFU want to stage sevens event in Olympic Stadium in 2012
By Tom Degun
December 1 - Rugby officials are still optimistic that sevens will feature at London 2012 as a non-medal event and even hope to be able to use the Olympic Stadium to showcase a sport that will be introduced officially to the Games at Rio in 2016.
Mike Miller, the chief executive of the International Rugby Board (IRB), told insidethegames that there remains a possibility that rugby sevens could yet make an unofficial appearance at the London 2012 Games as an exhibition event.
He said: "There are no demonstration events as such at the Olympic Games any more but the Chinese martial art of Wushu wasn't on the Olympic programme in 2008 yet it was part of the Beijing Olympics.
"I know that there are various people talking about things at the moment and whether it comes to be a reality or not I don't know but it would be a shame not to have rugby sevens in London in 2012 because it would be a hugely popular event."
The chances of a special exhibition being held have been boosted by rugby sevens being voted onto the programme by the International Olympic Committee at its Session in Copenhagen in October.
Chairman of the Rugby Football Union (RFU) Management Board Martyn Thomas told insidethegames: "We have made it clear that we would be very happy to cooperate with the powers that be if they do want rugby to feature at the London 2012 Games."
Thomas also revealed that he liked the idea of using the Olympic Stadium for rugby sevens in the period between the 2012 opening ceremony and the start of the athletics when the stadium is set to be empty for a number of days.
He said: "Far be it for me to suggest that a venue needs something to fill it for a few days but yes I think it's a good idea.
"I am sure that if rugby sevens features on the 2012 programme, there will be an opportunity for us to talk to Lord Coe and LOCOG about venues and if there is an empty Olympic stadium for a few days, it would be great to put rugby on there.
"It will give an opportunity to use a magnificent stadium that is there to be used and give people who can't get into the athletics and some of the other big events because of ticket pressures the chance to actually come along and experience the stadium.
"We found that with Wembley as people who can't get there to see a soccer game have actually been there to watch rugby or American Football and therefore been able to experience the stadium atmosphere.
"So I think that is a great way of opening up the venue to expose it to more people who aren’t necessarily going to get tickets to the major venues during the Olympic Games."
The Olympic Stadium will have an 80,000 capacity during the 2012 Games and although that was to set to be reduced to 25,000 after the Games, its future now remains unclear as if England is chosen to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup; plans to reduce the capacity would have to be scrapped.
January 2008: Demonstration rugby event could be held in 2012