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19 Jun 2020

We are very grateful for, and appreciative of, the enormous support that we receive from the schools both in the UK and abroad, year in and year out. We fully understand, and share, the disappointment that cancellation of the 2020 tournament caused to all the schools who had entered.

Many schools were particularly disappointed that we were not able to provide a refund of their entry fees for the 2020 tournament and have asked for clarity around what will happen in 2021. We want to take this opportunity to address those concerns and clarify our intentions for the 2021 Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools Sevens tournament.

In the week prior to the 2020 tournament, the Surrey 7s went ahead along with a number of large-scale national events including the Cheltenham Festival. We were in constant contact with both our medical advisers and the RFU as the situation developed. We had been very much led to believe that we would be able to go ahead with the 2020 tournament, given that both the Government and RFU were still permitting rugby to be played. We had, therefore, fully committed to final preparations in order to host the tournament as scheduled.

As we now know, the tournament was cancelled within one week of its start.  We had already committed to almost all of the infrastructure and operational costs for the event as well as the costs of the dedicated event team  which works for the 12 months leading up to the tournament. Whilst we did have event insurance, including cancellation, like many others, we were not covered for a Covid-19 scenario. You will appreciate there are very many products and services, both hired and purchased, which are needed in order to host an event of this magnitude. All of these were rendered redundant and, due to the last minute nature of the cancellation, there was no possibility of refund from our suppliers.

All entry fees go directly towards the infrastructure and operational costs of the event. As a not-for-profit organisation we simply were not in a position to refund the entry fees when all the costs of the tournament had already been incurred.

When registering online every school is required to acknowledge that should the event need to be cancelled for reasons of Health & Safety, that the entry fee may be lost. We have only had to use this clause on one day in the last eighty odd years so it is not something we ever imagined would come to pass. Given the severity and timing of this pandemic we were left with no alternative course of action.

We are focused on being in a position to host an event in 2021 and the continuation of the event is of paramount importance to us. We are acutely aware that the ongoing uncertainty of when rugby might resume and indeed when schools might return to any level of normality means that schools are cautious of committing to the 2021 tournament. We are working to ensure that the situation we all experienced in 2020 is not repeated.

We are making a commitment to all participants that, in the event of the 2021 tournament being cancelled, all entry fees will either be refunded or they will be rolled over to the 2022 tournament. We will either set a date, and if by then we cannot be certain the event will go ahead, we will cancel the event and refund schools because at that stage we will not have committed to the majority of costs; or if we need to postpone or move to 2022 then we will roll over entries to the next tournament. To do this we are working with our contractors to ensure that our costs can also be rolled over. As soon as we have further details about the anticipated key dates from the government and the governing bodies of the home nations of how and when rugby can resume then we will publish further details.

We have worked closely with our sponsors and partners to hopefully assist the schools to mitigate any further losses this year. Edwin Doran, who are our accommodation partner, have now been able to move the 2020 bookings over to the 2021 event with no additional cost to the schools, which will hopefully prove to be a significant saving.

It was with enormous regret that we were forced into the position in which we found ourselves this year. We do, however, hope that in light of these unprecedented circumstances you will understand our position and we hope that we can count on your continued support of the tournament.

Thank you in advance for your understanding and please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further concerns or questions.

Andrew Higgins
Tournament Director

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