November 1 - Rio 2016 have revealed that the venue for rugby sevens at the Olympic Games is now in doubt.
The Olympics in Brazil will see the sport of rugby appear at the Olympics for the first time since Paris in 1924 while the sevens format will feature at the Games for the first time ever after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted it onto the sports programme at their Session in 2009.
Rio 2016 had identified the 25,000 capacity Sao Januario Stadium as the venue for rugby sevens.
But after the stadium tenant Club de Regatas Vasco da Gama failed to supply the relevant documents for the competition, the Organising Committee revealed that they may now move the sport into the João Havelange Stadium, which it would have to share with athletics.
"The Sao Januario Stadium had been identified by Rio 2016 as the potential Rugby Sevens venue, subject to delivery criteria being met," said a Rio 2016 statement.
"The Clube de Regatas Vasco da Gama was requested, on 9 April, 2012, to provide detailed plans and all guarantees, including financial, related to the provision of the stadium under the conditions required by the IOC and the International Rugby Board (IRB) for the event by 31 October, 2012.
"As the documents requested were not received by the required deadline, Rio 2016 is now going to undertake a reassessment of the operational plans for the João Havelange Stadium, in conjunction with the IRB and the IOC, in order to ensure that rugby sevens' Olympic Games debut is both successful and memorable."
The João Havelange Stadium is currently undergoing work to have its capacity increased from 45,000 to 60,000 for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Should rugby sevens move to the venue, it is likely that it would take place at the stadium in the first week of the Olympics before the field of play is completely reconfigured to host athletics in the second week.
Given the fact that the Olympic rugby sevens competition takes just two days, the reconfiguration should not be a major problem although it does present an unnecessary headache for organisers.
The IRB have said they are being kept up to date with the issue.
"The IRB has been kept fully informed by Rio 2016of the on-going discussions regarding the selection of the sports venue for the Olympic Games Rugby Sevens events," said an IRB statement.
"The IRB will continue to work alongside Rio 2016 and the IOC to ensure the delivery of outstanding and successful rugby sevens events for teams, fans and the Olympic and rugby families."
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