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Olympic sevens qualification explained

The qualification process for the Olympics in most parts of the world is quite straight forward – except in Europe. We summarise the whole process.

We have known for some time that there will be 12 teams in the women’s rugby sevens event at the Rio Olympics. We have also known for some time that Brazil will qualify automatically, along with the top four teams from the World Series.

But where will the other seven teams come from?

Six of them will be the 2015 champions of each region – Africa, Asia, Europe (Grand Prix), North America & Caribbean, Oceania and South America. If the champion has already qualified, the next placed team will take their place.

The final place is where things become interesting – and very complex.

The twelfth place will go to the winner of a “repecharge” tournament, to be played probably in September. This will be a 16-team tournament made up of:

Three teams from Africa
Three teams from Asia
Four teams from Europe
Two teams from North America & the Caribbean
Two teams from Oceania, and
Two teams from South America

It will be up to each region to decide how these teams will be selected – but in most cases it is likely to be the second and third (and, in Africa and Asia, fourth) placed team in each region.

European qualification process for “repecharge”

In Europe, there will be a special process for deciding which teams qualify for the repecharge as every country must be given a chance to qualify, and in Europe only the top 12 teams out of over 30 compete for the championship in each year.

So only one of the four places in the “repecharge” will be decided by the championship (the “Grand Prix”) – the remaining three places will be decided at a separate Olympic qualifier, to be held in Portugal in July.

This tournament will include all teams from the Grand Prix who have not qualified and can play at the Olympics (so not Scotland or Wales). That will probably be seven teams, assuming that one European team qualifies from the WSWS (if not there will be eight). If it is seven teams then they will be joined by the top four from the European Division A, and the winner of the Division B tournament (but if there are eight then just the top three from Division A will take part).

The top three teams from that tournament will then join the runner up from the Grand Prix in the “repecharge”.