New home for Dubai rugby on track

Emirates Airline purpose-built Sevens venue to be a "vast improvement" on Exiles Rugby Club.

The Sevens stadium will host the annual Dubai Rugby Sevens event.
The Sevens stadium will host the annual Dubai Rugby Sevens event.

Emirates Airline purpose-built Sevens venue to be a "vast improvement" on Exiles Rugby Club.

Next month's Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens will be hosted at a new purpose-built venue on the Al Ain Road, which will ensure "the best Sevens event to date," according to Emirates group sponsorships manager Bettina Jordan.

The Sevens will be located just past the Dubai Outlet Mall and is on track to open in time for the annual Rugby Sevens tournament on November 27-29.

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"The facility will be fit for use and will be a vast improvement on what we have experienced before. It was difficult to imagine when the site was simply a vast area of sand but construction is well underway and already in the advanced stages," said Jordan.

The Sevens, which will be owned and operated by Emirates Airline, will feature a main pitch with capacity for 42,500 - 10,000 more than in previous years.
 

"Building of the permanent grandstand, which has 4,000 seats, and the clubhouse is well underway. Also, as in the past, temporary stands are also being erected which enable spectators to walk around the main pitch," said Jordan.

In total, The Sevens will have six pitches, including one constructed in a bowl-type setting with grass embankments on three sides and seating for up to 15,000 people.

"There will eventually be facilities for cricket, swimming, badminton, tennis, squash, football, basketball and netball," said Jordan.

She added: "The Sevens will be available for rugby clubs affiliated to the Arabian Gulf Rugby Football Union and we expect it will develop to become the focal point for virtually all recreational and developmental rugby in Dubai.

"It will also be the home of the Arabian Gulf Rugby Football Union (AGRFU) - the governing body of rugby in the region."

The facilities would also be available for general use, continued Jordan, although not free of charge.

"There is an enormous investment being made by Emirates and there will be a need for the cost of running and maintaining to be recovered. The facilities will be available for public use but there will have to be charges levied. These charges will, however, be set at very reasonable levels," she revealed.

The Sevens will also host one of the largest global events to be held in Dubai - the Rugby World Cup Sevens from March 5-7, 2009.

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