3 Nov 2012

Rugby's Olympic venue still in doubt

11:17 am on 3 November 2012

Rugby's return to the Olympics in 2016 in Brazil is going far from smoothly with the venue for the tournament still in doubt.

The planned venue, the Sao Januario Stadium - home to the Vasco da Gama football club - has failed to meet a deadline to present its plans and guarantees.

Rio de Janiero organisers say they will now revisit plans for the Joao Havelange Stadium to host the rugby sevens tournament instead.

A statement on the Rio 2016 website says Vasco da Gama had been requested in April to provide details and financial guarantees of the project to revamp the stadium for the Olympics.

While the original proposal was to convert the stadium into a 25,000-seater venue, club directors said last month that the plans would now see the stadium turned into a 43,000 arena in time for the 2016 Games.

The International Rugby Board, which is investing $300 million over the next four years to support development in new markets such as football-mad Brazil, says it's aware of the stadium issues.

Rugby was last played at the Paris Games in 1924 in the full 15-a-side form, but sevens was deemed an attractive option for the IOC due to its speed, youth appeal and the number of countries competing around the world.