World Rugby Set Ambitious Targets In New Vision Document
World Rugby hopes that future Olympic sevens tournaments will be considered as one of the "best team events" in a new document which outlines its vision for the future.
The governing body has revised its original strategic plan for the sport leading up to Tokyo 2020 and is aiming to exceed the targets it initially set itself.
It comes after sevens made its debut on the Olympic stage at Rio 2016 in August, with a Nielsen Sports study claiming that the number of rugby fans in six surveyed markets had grown by 16.83 million since then.
As well as the aim for the Tokyo Games, World Rugby are now also hoping to reach sustainable playing numbers of 11 million by 2020, including four million registered players.
Another target is for the 2019 15-a-side World Cup in Japan to deliver a net surplus of 60 per cent of England 2015, with World Rugby also hoping to prove itself as a "leader in sport" with governance processes which are "agile, dynamic and driven by best practice".
Becoming recognised as a leader and pioneer in player welfare best practice, including concussion education, prevention, management and research, is another major target.
The new document was drawn up following consultation from unions around the world and is described as a "revised roadmap" for an "even stronger global game"
"Rugby is in excellent, record-breaking shape around the world and guided by a common mission and a strong strategic plan, we have collectively doubled participation, achieved Olympic Games inclusion and delivered very-special and record-breaking Rugby World Cups since the launch of the plan in 2009," said World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont, speaking at the World Rugby ConfEx 2016 in London.
"The best time to change is when you are successful and this revised strategic plan will pave the way for further impetus on and off the field.
"Importantly, this means ensuring the continued growth of the game through to Rugby World Cup 2019 and beyond, protecting our players at all levels, promoting integrity and guaranteeing that the sport continues to flourish and grow among the next generation of fans and players by embracing innovation.
"This is a plan for rugby, by rugby.
"We look forward to collaborating with all our member unions, six regional associations and all members of the rugby family to ensure rugby remains an inclusive sport for all that will further its record growth and development as we look to the future."