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Has Dubai Rugby Sevens jumped the shark?
Bad music choices, botched celebratory parade, VIPs treated like kids… is Dubai’s most famous sporting weekend a spent force?
December 4, 2011 2:53 by kippreport
Time was those guys dressed as cheerleaders would have been embraced by an event renowned for its party spirit. The Dynamos could have got in on the joke by inviting the guys down to join them for a routine, instead of going off in a mood and spending most of the day at the family stand at the other end of the pitch.
A family stand which was conspicuously nowhere near full, by the way. Clearly ticket sales for this year must have been way down, to judge by the empty seats in that normally full to capacity stand. Maybe that’s why the atmosphere was suffering?
What else did we have? Oh yes, no free squashy rugby balls for the kids – normally a huge highlight for them, but conspicuous by their absence. And far less of the inflatable bang sticks, which the kids normally deflate and tie together to make a great big rope around the stadium. This year they couldn’t even be bothered to try – even the under tens could tell the spark had gone from this year’s tournament.
Meanwhile according to Kipp’s more important friends, even the corporate hospitality was a letdown this year, with bars closing early and supposed VIPs not allowed to bring their drinks out into the ground. “If I wanted to be treated as a child I would go to the crèche”, said one senior UAE banker to Kipp.
And apparently for many VIPs, on arrival at the ground they ran out of wristbands on the desk, meaning a large queue of very hot people were standing in the midday sun for half an hour while staff phoned the club house and asked for more to be brought out. Our VIP friends wouldn’t have minded, but the clubhouse is a couple of hundred yards away and someone could have run there and back in three minutes. Instead, the events staff on the door stood around swigging water in the shade while everyone else, including families, sweltered in the heat. The VIPs were fuming, by all accounts.
Another note to organizers – if you have hundreds of apparently important folk coming through a gate, and you see you are running low on wristbands, phone for some more ahead of time.
Yes this is a rant. Yes this is just Kipp’s opinion. And yes, on pitch action was brilliant, as always. But this is also anecdotally what we heard and gathered from friends all over the event. Maybe it’s that last year was just so good. Maybe it’s that last year was too boisterous and they wanted to tone it down. But it seems to us that the Dubai Sevens maybe jumping that shark.
What do you think? Has the Sevens jumped the shark? Or did you have the time of your life? Leave a comment below or email us at [email protected]
Images from http://www.dubairugby7s.com
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