The 2021 HSBC Canada Sevens are scheduled for September, one of six tournaments that will make up the much-delayed 2021 World Rugby Sevens Series season

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Having fans in the stands is a must-have for the next edition of the HSBC Canada Sevens to happen.

And so Tuesday’s official confirmation from the provincial government that, if everything goes to plan in the coming months with rising vaccinations and dropping COVID-19 rates, fans will be allowed back in the stands at B.C. sports venues by the end of the summer was welcomed news for the tournament’s organizers.

“Very positive,” Jamie Levchuk, Rugby Canada’s managing director of business operations, said of Tuesday’s news. “We are cautiously optimistic and have been receiving great support from our partners and stakeholders. We’re likely still a few weeks away from any announcement as we continue to work through logistics.”

The reopening plan unveiled by the province on Tuesday says that as soon as Sept. 7, indoor and outdoor stadium capacities will be allowed to increase beyond an initial “limited” capacity that will be allowed sometime after July 1.

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Canada Sevens tournament officials have been talking to officials from Vancouver Coastal Health and B.C. Place for a couple months, laying out possible plans if the tournament is given the official go-ahead. Whether they will be authorized to have anything close to a full crowd in or not isn’t yet clear.

As it stands, the 2021 tournament is scheduled to be played sometime in September, one of six tournaments that will make up the much-delayed 2021 World Rugby Sevens Series season. A tournament in London, U.K., is also tentatively scheduled for September, as well tournaments in Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai and South Africa in the following three months.

The Dubai and South African legs usually launch the new season, but have been moved to the end of the shortened 2021 season, with an eight-tournament 2022 season kicking off in Sydney in February.

The Canada Sevens would return again in March in its usual window.

Given the international nature of the sevens series, Levchuk pointed out that discussions with the Public Health Agency of Canada and other federal government agencies need to take place as well, with issues like the current border rules and quarantine requirements very much in frame.

Other that a handful of National Hockey League games, the 2020 tournament was the last large sporting event to take place in Canada before the pandemic stopped everything in its tracks on March 12.

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