Rugby Tournament Rules

It is the Team Manager’s responsibility to ensure squad members are conversant with the Tournament Rules.

Section 1: Tournament Contact

Address: The Sevens Stadium, c/o Emirates, PO Box 686, Dubai, UAE
Phone: +971 4 518 1320

Section 2: Tournament Structure

2.1 Cup and Plate Competition

The age groups, Under 13, Under 14, and Under 16 are separated into two competitions, a Cup competition and a Plate competition.

From the outset, teams are seeded 1 to 8 based on the results from the previous year’s tournament. Teams seeded 1-4 will play in a Cup Competition, 5-8 in a Plate Competition.

The Under 16 Girls competition, introduced in 2023, is separated into two pools. The First round of games will be played on a round-robin basis. Following the pool round there will be knock-out rounds.

2.1.1 Play will consist of matches between teams in the same pool on a round-robin basis. Pool matches will be seven (7) minutes each way with a one (1)   minute half-time break.

2.1.2 All Cup, Plate and Pool Matches carry the following points:

  • 5 points for a win
  • 3 points for a draw
  • 1 point for a loss
  • 0 points for a no show, abandonment or referee disqualification

2.1.3 In the event of two or more teams being equal on competition points for any position in the Cup or Plate table the higher placed team will be determined using the following sequence:

  1. The margin of points scored for and against a team in all of their Cup or Plate matches shall be considered. The team with the highest positive margin of points shall be ranked higher in the Cup or Plate table. In the event that the tie remains unsolved then;
  2. If two teams are involved and have played each other, the winning team will take the higher position. In the event that the tie remains unsolved then;
  3. The team that scores the most tries in all of their Cup or Plate matches shall be ranked higher in the table. In the event that the tie remains unsolved then;
  4. The team that scores the most points in all of their Cup or Plate matches shall be ranked higher in the table. In the event that the tie remains unsolved then;
  5. The team that concedes the least points in all of their Cup or Plate matches shall be ranked higher in the table. In the event that the tie still remains unresolved then;
  6. The winner will be decided by the toss of a coin between the Managers of the teams concerned.     

2.2 Knock Out Stage Matches (Under 16 Girls only)

Following the completion of the pool stage matches there will be knock-out finals stages. The draw will be based upon the team positions in the pool tables. For details on the knock-out stages please see the competition specific information.

2.2.1 All quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals will be played on a knock-out basis.

2.2.2 All quarter-final, semi-final and final games will be seven (7) minutes each way with a one (1) minute halftime break.

2.2.3 In the event of a match being drawn at the end of normal time (in the knock-out stages) extra time will be played, in five (5) minute periods until a winner is determined. There will be an interval of one (1) minute after full time has been declared then play shall commence with a coin-toss, the winner of which chooses either; which way to play or to kick-off the period of extra time. The first team to scorewill immediately be declared the winner and play will cease. After each five (5) minute period of extratime, teams will change ends, without stoppage, and resume play.

2.3 Match Management

2.3.1 For all matches, should the Referee decide there is a clash of shirt colours the Referee will call both team captains together and toss a coin; the loser will change shirts. This will take place at the time of the scheduled Coin Toss for the Match which will take place at Half Time of the preceding match on that pitch.

2.3.2 Due to scheduling constraints play will continue as often as possible to avoid any delays. Referees will penalise unnecessary delays as time wasting. All games are required to kick-offon time. The organisers may change pitches without prior notice to facilitate completion of the tournament on time.

2.3.3 All teams are required to be at the allocated (or replacement) pitch and ready to start play five (5) minutes before the scheduled kick-off time. Team Managers must report to the Match Manager at this time.

2.3.4 All Team Personnel must have the requisite accreditation to enter the Playing Enclosure and Teams may warm up ‘In goal’ during the game preceding their own as directed by the Match Manager.

2.3.5 The Winners and Runners Up of each Section will receive automatic qualification to Enter next year’s Tournament, subject to meeting the relevant Entry Payment Criteria and Timelines which will be communicated well in advance of the event.

Section 3: Rules of the Tournaments

3.1 The rules of the Tournaments, including their interpretation, are matters for the Disputes Committee. As such the Tournament Management will appoint a Disputes Committee to arbitrate on all matters concerning the rules of the Tournaments. The Disputes Committee will be convened only in the event of an official written complaint being registered with the Tournament Manager (refer to 3.5 below) or at the discretion of the Tournament Manager. The complainant and affected parties may be required to attend a hearing at the discretion of the Disputes Committee. Failure of the complainant to attend will render the complaint void. In the event of any matters arising that are not covered by the Tournament Rules, or ambiguity of the Tournament Rules, the Committee shall make a ruling after interpreting the rules in the best interests of the tournament. Its decision shall be final, without appeal.

3.2 All matches will be played in accordance with the current ‘Laws of the Game’ and the rulings therein, together with all by-laws and directives of World Rugby and directions published in the Tournament Rules. The English text of the World Rugby Handbook (as published by World Rugby including all 7- a-side variations) and this Tournament Rules manual shall be authoritative and final.

3.3 HIGHLY IMPORTANT: As a Tournament operating under the jurisdiction of the United Arab Emirates Rugby Federation (UAERF) and with the guidance of World Rugby, it should be noted that all Rugby Tournaments at the Emirate Dubai 7s, with the exception of the International Invitational Men and International Invitational Women will be subject to the ‘UAE Rugby Tackle Height Domestic Law Variation 2023 / 24’. An explanatory document, provided by the UAERF, can be found here.

3.4 Teams, Players or Team Personnel who breach the tournament rules will jeopardise their team’s likelihood of being invited to participate in future tournaments.

3.5 To verify the final score, at the conclusion of each match the Referee (or assigned Match Official) will sign the scorecard in front of and before the individual Team Manager, then hand it to the Pitch Marshal.

3.6 A disputed match result must be brought to the attention of the Registration Manager, by the Team Manager, within 30 minutes prior to the commencement of their next game or within 2 hours of match completion, whichever is soonest.

3.7 Variations

The Tournament Manager reserves the right, before and during the tournament, to make or vary rules and give directions as to the conduct of the tournament, the conduct of participating teams and each member of their team. All such rules and directions when made and communicated will becomebinding on the participating teams and each member of their team, at the time of publishing, by posting of anotice in the Registration Tent.

Further, The Tournament in its sole discretion Reserves the right to make alterations to the Tournament Structure if so required as a result of the actions of one or more Government Authorities, which may impact on the total number of Teams and or Spectators permitted to attend the Event.

3.8 Eligibility

3.8.1 Eligibility is a competition specific element of the Tournament Rules. Please see competition specific information for further details. (Section 7)

3.8.2 Players / officials currently under any sanction, from rugby union (15s, 10s or 7s) or any other sport, and / or prohibited from playing or officiating in / at the Tournament must inform the Tournament Management prior to submitting the signed squad registration form. A copy of the sanctioning documentation must be provided at this time. If appropriate the player will be allowed to carry their ban into the Tournament until it is served.

3.8.3 A sanctioned player / official who participates in the Tournament without providing formal notification to the Tournament Management, will have the following action taken:

  • they will be immediately banned from the Tournament
  • their respective Home Union (where applicable) will be informed who will use their discretion with regards to further sanctions being enforced
  • the player / official will be barred from participating in the Emirates Airline Dubai 7s for a minimum of two (2) years

3.9 Request by Officials

All participating teams and each member of the team will comply with all reasonable requests of the Tournament Officials, Match Referees, Assistant Referees and Pitch Marshals. Any failure to do so could result in a complaint being made to the Tournament Manager and disciplinary action.

3.10 Forfeit, No Show or Disqualification

3.10.1 If a team does not show up, refuses to play or forfeits a match prior to its commencement without the prior consent of the Tournament Manager or their delegate, that team will ‘lose’ the match. The Tournament Manager will decide upon the further participation of that team in the tournament. Games will be considered forfeited if a team is not on the pitch, ready to commence play within two (2) minutes of the published kick-off time.

3.10.2 Teams who ‘no-show’ without informing the Tournament Manager or Registration Manager in advance, will not be invited to participate in future tournaments.

3.10.3 If a match is forfeited, a team fails to show up for a match or a team is disqualified by a Referee or a Tournament Official a score of 20 – 0 (four tries) will be recorded in favour of the offended team.

3.11 Abandonment

3.11.1 If a team refuses to play or abandons a match in progress, that team will forfeit the match. The Tournament Manager will decide upon the further participation of that team in the tournament.

3.11.2 If the Referee abandons a match due to:

a) conduct of a team, this will result in a Disputes Committee decision being taken on the final result of the match;

b) or for non-disciplinary reasons,

  • At half-time or any time in the second half. The score will stand;
  • During the first half, the result will be declared a draw unless the match is a knock-out fixture, in which case the score will stand.

c) normal judicial procedures will also apply to players who are sanctioned through the Red and Yellow Card process.

3.12 Declaration of Squads, Teams and Replacements

Team squads registering for all Sevens (7s) sections will consist of a maximum of twelve (12) players. All twelve (12) players are eligible to play in each match. Teams may use up to five substitutions each match (see Section 5 Substitutions, Replacements and Stoppages). Teams must have a minimum of seven (7) players, (fit to participate in the match) on the pitch in order for a match to start.

Team squads registering for all Tens (10s) sections will consist of a maximum of fifteen (15) players. All fifteen (15) players are available to play in any individual match with substitutions being made on a rolling basis. Teams must have a minimum of ten (10) players (fit to participate in the match) on the pitch in order for a match to start.

3.12.1 A player, having been registered in a team, irrespective of whether he or she has taken part in the tournament, cannot register or make themselves available for registration in any other team.

3.12.2 Each squad must register their team with the Registration Tent no later than one (1) hour before their first game of the tournament. Squad players must personally sign the Squad Registration form to become an official squad member and prior to participating in any matches. Non- registered players are not eligible to play or participate in squad activities at any time, and new squad members i.e. individuals whose name is not on the squad sheet when the team is registered, cannot be added to the squad sheet after the team’s first match of the tournament has been played.

3.12.3 Teams must register for each game by presenting themselves to the on-pitch Registration Staff (located in the Pitch Marshall stand on the pitch on which they are due to play) no later than 20 minutes before the match is due to start. The on-pitch Registration Staff will check the players carry accreditation and that they are registered to play in that team. Players may be required to surrender their players’ Accreditation Pass to the on-pitch Registration Staff prior to the commencement of the game.

3.12.4 A player injured and certified by the Tournament Medical Officer as unfit to take any further part in the Tournament will remain a non-playing member of the squad. There will be no replacement player allowed to join the squad.

3.12.5 Once a player has been eliminated through injury and his / her name deleted from the Squad Registration form, that player can take no further part in the Tournament, and cannot be re-instated at a later date or time.

3.12.6 The Referee is the sole judge of fact and law and will take into consideration medical information available prior to ruling whether a player is fit to participate in a match.

3.12.7 There is a two week period between Round 1 and Round 2 of the Youth Sport Festival. To allow for player availability or injuries that may be sustained during that period, teams may make three changes to their initial, submitted squad, where necessary.

3.12.8 Teams that progress to play in a Youth Sport Festival Final at the Emirates Dubai 7s may pick their squad from any of the players that played, for that team, in either Round 1, Round 2, or in both Round 1 and Round 2. Where a team, for example, has used 15 players over the two rounds, they make pick a squad of 12 from those, and only those, 15 players.

Section 4: Understanding the Laws of the Game

4.1 All players are expected to have a basic understanding of the laws of the game of Rugby Union and have physical competency and fitness to play the game.

4.2 All kicks at goal must take place from the field of play.

4.3 Players may only enter or leave the field of play with permission from the Referee. Other squad members may only enter the field of play with permission from the Referee. Inappropriate approaches orcomments to a Match Official will be dealt with as misconduct.

4.4 All tournament participants must hold private medical insurance covering them to play rugby. Proof of medical insurance will not be requested by the Tournament however, prior to their first match of the tournament players (or the parent / guardian of an under 18 year old player) will be required to sign a medical waiver form indemnifying the Tournament, the Tournament Organisers and Match Officials from all liability arising from any injury caused as a result of participating in the tournament. Personal liability insurance is also recommended but not a tournament requirement.

Section 5: Substitutions, Replacements and Stoppages

5.1 Substitutions will be done on a rolling basis when there is a stop in play.

5.3 For any injuries, time will not be stopped unless it is determined by the Referee, in consultation with the medical team, that the injury is serious enough to require the game to stop for safety reasons. The Referee, at his / her discretion, may call the game off early to maintain the safety of participants.

5.4 The Tournament accepts no liability for injuries sustained during the course of the Tournament.

Section 6: Judicial and Disciplinary

6.1 For persistent or deliberate fouls or other infringements the Referee may issue a Yellow Card to dismiss a player to the Sin Bin for a period of two (2) minutes.

6.2 A player who receives two (2) Yellow Cards during a game will receive an automatic one (1) match ban from tournament play which cannot be reviewed or challenged. A player receiving two further yellow cards in one match at a later stage in the Tournament will be subject to a judicial hearing.

6.3 A player who receives three (3) Yellow Cards during the Tournament will be considered a persistent offender. The player shall have their discipline record reviewed by a Judicial Officer and if deemed appropriate will either receive a one match ban or be required to appear before the Tournament Judicial and Disciplinary Committee at an appointed time and place. The player will take no further part in the Tournament until the judicial hearing has been conducted.

6.4 Should the Referee issue a Red Card the player will be dismissed from the field of play and will take no further part in that game.

6.4.1 A player receiving a Red Card during a game (other than a Red Card issued for two (2) Yellow Cards during a game) will be required to attend a hearing held by the Tournament Judicial and Disciplinary Committee.

6.4.2 A player that has been issued with a Red Card (other than a Red Card issued for two (2) Yellow Cards during a game) will take no further part in the tournament until a Tournament Judicial and Disciplinary hearing has been conducted. The decision of this hearing will determine any further participation.

6.5 Any player (or accredited squad member) receiving a Red Card or who has received up to three (3) Yellow Cards during the Tournament must immediately, following the game in which the Red Card or third Yellow Card is issued, return the player’s Accreditation badge to the Accreditation / Registration Manager, situated in the Registration Tent. This badge can be uplifted again prior to the commencement of the game in which the player is eligible to return to play.

6.6 Any hearing will be conducted under the Judicial Procedures of the United Arab Emirates Rugby Federation (UAERF), and heard by appointed members of the United Arab Emirates Rugby Federation Judicial Panel. Outcomes imposed in accordance with UAERF and World Rugby rules and regulations will be upheld during and after the Tournament and advised to the offending player / accredited squad member’s Home Union (if applicable).

Section 12: Data Protection

12.1 Personal information provided by teams and their representatives will be collected, used and disclosed for tournament related purposes in accordance with the Participant Privacy Policy

12.2 Team managers are responsible for informing team members of any personal information that is shared with the tournament organisers and the Participant Privacy Policy.

12.3 By signing the official tournament invitation and the squad sheet the team manager, team officials and players accept the terms itemised above.

12.4 Squad members irrevocably and unconditionally (i) consent without compensation to the recording of his / her voice, image and likeness captured by any means (including without limitation, audio, visual and audio-visual recordings by televisions / cameras / telephones / mobile devices and / or photographers) while present at or about the Tournament venue; (ii) agree to the free of charge transmission and use in perpetuity by the Organiser and the Tournament sponsors and any licensee or assignee of the Organiser of his / her voice, image and likeness captured whilst present at or about the Tournament venue, by means of live or recorded video display, broadcast, transmission or other dissemination or recording, photographs or any other current and or / future media technologies to the fullest extent possible; and (iii) waives, on an irrevocable, worldwide and perpetual basis, all moral rights in and to any recordings of sound made or images taken within the Tournament venue. Squad member’s own photographs or any other recordings of sound made or images taken in or around the Tournament venue may be used for personal, private, non-commercial and non- promotional purposes only.