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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 July, 2005, 14:48 GMT 15:48 UK
Sevens bid supported by Woodward
Lions coach Sir Clive Woodward
Woodward says the world's leading players want to play in the Olympics
Lions coach Sir Clive Woodward has backed calls for rugby union Sevens to be included in the 2012 Olympics.

The abbreviated version of the game is one of five sports bidding to win a place in the London Olympics.

For any of them to make it one of the existing sports will have to be voted out of the Games at the International Olympic Committee session on Friday.

"All the top players support and want to play in the Olympic rugby Sevens competition," said Woodward.

The sport's chances of making it into the Olympics may have been boosted by the choice of London to hold the 2012 Games on Wednesday.

"London is the perfect city to host the games, congratulations to them," said Woodward.

London wants rugby in the Olympics, that is for certain
IRB official Mike Mille

"Rugby continues to grow worldwide in terms of spectators and participants and we are positive that a rugby Sevens element to the Olympics would be a fantastic addition."

On Friday every one of the 28 current Olympic sports will face a vote, with any sport which fails to win the support of more than 50% of the voters being dropped from the 2012 programme.

If a sport is dropped, the IOC executive board will select a replacement from the list of five candidates.

The sport recommended by the executive board to replace an outgoing one would first need a two-thirds majority to become an "Olympic sport".

It would then need a simple majority in a second vote to be admitted to the 2012 Games programme.

Olympic sources in Singapore say it is unlikely the members will eject a sport for fear of causing irreversible damage to its status and finances.

But IOC members say they do want change and rugby union authorities hopes some compromise can be found.

"London wants rugby in the Olympics, that is for certain," said International Rugby Board secretary general Mike Miller.

"There is the question of would we benefit the Olympics? The answer is yes.

"Are we stronger than some of the current Olympic sports? Yes again. But there is more to it than that.

"All the members say yes they want change but it's a big step to put someone out because a lot of these sports depend on the Olympics."

The last sport to be removed from the Olympic Games was polo in 1936.

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