The Oktoberfest 7s, Germany's first-ever professional top-class invitational tournament, which was launched last year as part of the Oktoberfest in Munich, is set to be cancelled this year. The organisers have published a surprising statement today, in which they explained that in order to fully focus on the successful application of becoming a host for one of the World Sevens Series legs, it is inevitable to cancel this year's tournament.
A decision of the host cities for the next World Sevens Series is expected to be announced in July this year.
Here is the full statement by the Oktoberfest 7s GmbH, the company which manages the tournament:
Oktoberfest 7s 2018: Impending cancellation - Focus on 2019
With deep regret we have to report that in all likelihood we will have to cancel the Oktoberfest 7s 2018 in order to focus on the 2019 event and a long-term series of tournaments.
In 2017 Munich experienced the successful premiere of top class rugby in Germany at the first Oktoberfest 7s, attended by the best national teams in the world. Due to the overwhelmingly positive response to this invitational tournament, in 2019 Rugby Germany has a realistic chance of becoming host, for the first time, to one of the World Rugby Sevens Series tournaments, of which there are currently ten run by World Rugby. The German Rugby Union has therefore, in conjunction with the operating company Oktoberfest 7s GmbH, submitted an application to World Rugby for the World Rugby Sevens Series from 2019 to 2022. The top priority remains the hosting by Germany of a World Rugby Sevens Series tournament, which would offer greater prospects than an invitational tournament, both in terms of status and associated conditions. Negotiations with World Rugby are currently ongoing. A decision on the future hosts of the World Rugby Sevens Series is expected in July 2018.
The Oktoberfest 7s are organized and run by the operating company Oktoberfest 7s GmbH. This operating company is funded 100% by private investors, who are supporting German rugby and who have the long-term goal of establishing a yearly tournament with an international format in Germany. In 2017 these shareholders brought considerable funds to bear as part of the start-up financing, in order to fund a successful inaugural tournament. In the planning for the 2018 tournament it has become clear that the additional financing, bearing in mind the investment required for possible World Rugby Sevens Series participation from 2019, could only be further borne with difficulty.
While on the one hand the application for the World Rugby Sevens Series represents a very great chance, it also draws the attention of World Rugby and the participating sponsors to the long-term series and away from the event this year. Therefore, after consultation with all the parties involved, the shareholders of the Oktoberfest 7s GmbH have had to take the decision, as it currently stands, to postpone the 2018 tournament by one year, in order to focus all available resources and means on 2019, with immediate effect. At the same time, we are currently in the final phase of negotiations with the possibility of indeed securing the financing for this year. Should this not be possible, we will announce the definite cancellation of the event by the end of May 2018. The ticket sales for 2018 will not start until then.
Together with the city of Munich, the sponsors and all other stakeholders, the Oktoberfest 7s GmbH and the German Rugby Union will concentrate all their efforts, on the application process of the World Rugby Union in the upcoming weeks and months in order to be able to host an official World Rugby Sevens Series tournament in the Olympic Stadium from 2019.