The Hong Kong Sevens will take place this year for the first time since 2019. The Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) confirmed that the tournament will be held from November 4-6, after getting approval from the HKSAR government.
Sixteen teams, including Hong Kong, will play the tournament this year. However, unlike previous editions, the 2022 edition will not feature the women’s and children’s tournaments.
The event will be held “in compliance with the prevailing Covid-19 measures in place at the time”, according to a statement by HKRU chairman Patrick Donovan. In an interview with RTHK on Monday, Sports Commissioner Yeung Tak-keung outlined the conditions under which the event will be held this year, which include a closed-loop arrangement for players and strict spectator-control measures:
- There will be a sports bubble for all the players and overseas officials, by which they will be in a quarantine hotel and not allowed to interact with the general public.
- Players and officials need to take a PCR test before they come to Hong Kong and when they arrive at the airport. They can only go to the quarantine hotel if they test negative upon arrival in the city.
- Local staff who come into close contact with the players need to follow the same health restrictions.
- The number of spectators allowed will depend on Hong Kong’s anti-pandemic restrictions at the time of the tournament. Currently, there is a 60% cap on spectators at sports venues, which means that over 30,000 people are allowed each day at the Hong Kong Stadium.
- Drinking will be allowed in the stands, but spectators can only eat at food outlets to minimise mask-off activities at the event.
- HKRU staff will enforce mask-wearing rules during matches.
The last time the tournament was held was in April 2019. Since then, many of Hong Kong’s large-scale sporting events have been cancelled because of the city’s strict anti-pandemic measures, which include capacity limits at venues and a mandatory seven-day minimum hotel quarantine requirement. However, authorities are considering eliminating the quarantine period by November 2022.
The Hong Kong Sevens is one of many iconic city sporting events set to make a comeback in November for the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The 2022 edition of the Hong Kong Open is scheduled for November 8-13, and the Hong Kong Marathon is slated to place sometime during the month.
Header image credits: Jesús Gorriti via Wiki Commons