Pan American Games a big step for rugby

13 JULY 2007

The International Rugby Board (IRB) has welcomed the news that the Pan American Sports Organisation (PASO) will include Rugby as a participation sport in the 2011 Pan American Games sporting programme. PASO voted for Rugby’s inclusion at its recent General Meeting in Rio de Janeiro.

The participation of Rugby in the form of Sevens in the Pan American Games has been a goal of the IRB. The confirmation is another significant boost for the sport and the discipline of Rugby Sevens is a very popular inclusion in several major multi-sport events including the Commonwealth Games, World Games, Asian Games and South Pacific Games.

Rugby is experiencing significant growth in the Americas and the IRB currently has 21 Member Countries in the region.

The inclusion of Rugby Sevens in the Pan American Games follows meetings between the IRB and PASO representatives over the last few weeks and a presentation made by PARA Chairman (Pan American Rugby Association) and IRB Council Member, Carlos Tozzi, to the PASO General Meeting. The IRB believes the decision by PASO will further strengthen Rugby’s case for its reintroduction within the Olympic Games sporting programme.

“The IRB is delighted that PASO has recognised the tremendous attraction and value of Rugby and has elected to include the sport within the programme for the 2011 Pan America Games,” said IRB Chairman, Dr Syd Millar.

“This is another exciting development for Rugby Sevens which continues to go from strength to strength and has a proven track record of success at most major international multi-sport championships.

“The final day of the 2006 Commonwealth Games Sevens Rugby competition in Melbourne was played in front of a world record, single day, Rugby Sevens crowd of over 50,000 people as the Telstra Dome was completely sold out. I am sure that Rugby Sevens will prove a successful addition to the Pan America Games,” added Dr Millar.

“We are very proud to be a part of the PASO sports family”, said Mr Tozzi. “The decision reflects the growth of Rugby throughout the continent and we are excited about showcasing Rugby and in particular Sevens in Guadalajara, Mexico,” he added.

The popularity of Rugby Sevens is underpinned by the continued success of the annual IRB Sevens World Series and the IRB Rugby World Cup Sevens. The Rugby World Cup Sevens 2005 tournament in Hong Kong was played in front of a record three-day sell out crowd of 120,000 people. The 2009 tournament, to be held in Dubai, will be the first to feature a women’s tournament running alongside the men’s.

The IRB’s commitment to Rugby in the Americas is highlighted by: the successful staging of the IRB World Cup Sevens 2001 in Mar del Plata, Argentina; the USA hosts one of the eight annual tournaments of the IRB Sevens World Series in San Diego (the other venues are Dubai - UAE, Hong Kong - China, Wellington - NZ, Adelaide - Australia, London - England, Edinburgh - Scotland and George - South Africa); the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2006 was staged in Edmonton, Canada.

The IRB remains totally committed to Rugby’s reintroduction as part of the Olympic Games sporting calendar. The IRB continues to be present at IOC sessions, including last week’s meeting in Guatemala.

Rugby’s showpiece tournament, the IRB Rugby World Cup, is now firmly established as the world’s third largest sporting event with two million tickets now sold for the tournament, while an expected global audience of 4 billion will watch the tournament on television around the world in over 200 countries.


PARA (Pan American Rugby Association) is the umbrella body that brings together the two IRB regional associations in The Americas - CONSUR and NAWIRA [see below].

IRB Member Countries in The Americas:

NAWIRA (North America West Indies Rugby Association)
Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, Guyana, Jamaica, Mexico, St Lucia, St Vincent & The Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, USA.

CONSUR (Confederación Sudamericana de Rugby)
Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela.