Team GB Rugby Sevens star Dan Bibby has criticised funding cuts to the sport’s programme, calling the Rugby Football Union’s (RFU) plans “a joke”.
Bibby’s comments come after GB narrowly missed the podium at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics yesterday, losing to Argentina 17-12 in the bronze medal match.
The team’s central contracts ended last August as the RFU looked to cut costs during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Being brutally honest, it’s a joke. We have been offered eight contracts. Eight contracts is ridiculous,” said Bibby.
It was reported last year that the RFU looked set to lose up to £107m due to the pandemic. The men’s and women’s Sevens sides were part of a raft of cost saving measures enacted by the governing body.
Some members of the squad were said to be crowdfunding for the Tokyo Olympics, before funds were ultimately made available from the National Lottery in December.
Since then, eight contracts have been offered. Bibby was scathing about what this meant for the future of GB Sevens.
“You are asking us to play against a team like New Zealand with eight boys on not much more than minimum wage. It’s impossible,” he added.
“If they are not going to fund it, be grown-up about it, come out and say it. But not all this wishy-washy absolute nonsense. That is my view on it.”
Team GB’s highlight in Tokyo was a win over USA from 21-0 down. They lost in the semi-finals to New Zealand, who finished runners-up to Fiji.