England withdraw from Dubai
October 22, 2001

England on Monday withdrew from next month's Dubai Sevens tournament, an event which has been downgraded due to the crisis prompted by the September 11 attacks on the United States.

The Rugby Football Union said it decided to pull out because the tournament had been stripped of its official status as a World Seven Series event due to tensions in the region.

"Our decision not to participate in Dubai was one we did not take lightly, but the withdrawal of the tournament's official status left us with little alternative," RFU performance director Chris Spice said. "We hope that the organisers and sponsors of the Dubai tournament understand our position."

England will now prepare for the first leg of the World Sevens Series in Durban on November 17-18. The Dubai tournament is scheduled for November 7-9.

Last week, the International Ruby Board stripped the Dubai tournament of its world series status after several rugby unions voiced concerns over the rise in tension in the Gulf following the September 11 attacks and subsequent bombing of Afghanistan.

"Like other countries who have withdrawn from the Dubai tournament we do so with regret, but we will now prepare our players for the Durban tournament," England sevens manager Joe Lydon said. - Sapa

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