LANGFORD, BC – Rugby Canada is disappointed to receive notice of the decision to cease funding the Men’s Sevens program for the 2017/18 fiscal year through the Summer Team Sport Strategy as recommended by Own The Podium (OTP), Rugby Canada CEO Allen Vansen said today.

The long term objective of the Government of Canada’s Summer Team Sport Strategy is to increase the critical mass of medal potential Summer Olympic teams and the number of medals being consistently won by team sports at the Summer Olympic Games.

“Unfortunately our on-field performance last year with our Men’s Sevens side and our failure to qualify for the  2016 Rio Olympic Games has had an impact on our ability to access financial support through the Summer Team Sport Strategy,” said Vansen.  “While we are disappointed that our Men’s Sevens funding recommended by OTP has been cut for 2017/18, we have taken steps to improve our on-field performance and to further develop our Men’s Sevens pathway.”

Funding through the Summer Team Sport Strategy is more competitive than ever with two new summer team sports being added to the 2020 Summer Olympic Games program and an increase in the depth of international competitiveness amongst summer team sports in Canada.

Rugby Canada is still determining the impact of these funding cuts on the Men’s Sevens program for the remainder of the 2017 season.  In 2016/17, the Men’s Sevens program received $850,000 in OTP recommended funding and no recommendation for funding for 2017/18.

Rugby Canada’s Rio 2016 Bronze Medal winning Women’s Sevens program continues to receive funding through OTP’s Enhanced Excellence funding recommendations, of $1,970,000 for 2017/18, and enjoys a premier level of recommended support from OTP based on evidence of future medal potential and the program’s high performance plan to win Gold in Tokyo 2020.

Rugby Canada’s Men’s Sevens program has had mixed results in the 2017 HSBC World Sevens Series to date with three 13th place finishes and a highly successful fourth place finish in Wellington on January 28 and 29.

“With six stops remaining on the HSBC World Sevens Series we know our Men’s Sevens team are as motivated as ever and have shown they can compete with the best in the world,” said Vansen.  “It is our mission to run a highly competitive, world class Men’s Sevens program, as we have done for the past four years, with the objective of qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and competing for a medal.”

Rugby Canada, along with all Summer Team Sports, is eligible to apply for Summer Team Sport Strategy funding for the 2018/19 fiscal year in the fall of 2017.  OTP will continue to provide technical guidance and advice to Rugby Canada for the Men’s Sevens program over the 2017/18 year.

Rugby Canada will continue to provide updates to our passionate community as we move forward.