The Rugby Sevens format is fast becoming one of the most popular sporting codes in the world, and is now ready to host the twentieth edition of their World Series. For South Africa it was the second consecutive Rugby Sevens championship and third overall.
World Rugby was not consulted by the Fiji Government ahead of the decree being implemented, as is the global norm for similar types of legislation introduced in other territories.
World Rugby is also uncomfortable with the outcome reflected in the decree which lays claim to access to the entirety of the rugby designated events rather than the more proportionate position of limiting it to the Fiji national team matches and represents a worrying erosion of its contractual, commercial and event ownership rights, all of which arise from tournaments which are held outside of Fiji.
Given the apparent intention of the Government to retrospectively apply the decree, World Rugby is deeply concerned that it undermines existing exclusive contractual broadcast arrangements which have been in place with Fiji TV which is a free to air broadcaster for some years, and has the real potential to destroy any commercial value for such world-class events in Fiji in the future.
These are revenues that are reinvested by World Rugby in the development of the global game, including significant re-investment in Fiji. World Rugby continues to press the government to engage in dialogue with a view to addressing the issues in the best interests of global and Fijian rugby.
World Rugby is deeply disappointed that those most affected by this are the fans of the sport.