Cape Town - World Rugby has confirmed that a record number of unions have formally expressed their interest in hosting the 2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens.
World Rugby posted on their official website that 11 nations - South Africa, Argentina, Cayman Islands, France, Germany, India, Jamaica, Malaysia, Qatar, Scotland and Tunisia - confirmed their expression of interest to the international federation by the March 31 deadline.
World Rugby chairperson Sir Bill Beaumont commented: "Rugby World Cup Sevens is a major event on the global sporting calendar, a fan and team favourite and is an attractive proposition for unions and cities as a low-investment, high-return event that is great for the city and great for rugby.
"We are delighted with the record level of interest. With a core objective of growing the global rugby fan and participation footprint, it is superb to see new interest from emerging rugby nations, which is great for the sport.
"We now move forward to a detailed phase of consultation and evaluation against set operational, team, fan and legacy criteria before the World Rugby Council selects the 2022 host at the interim meeting in Tokyo in October."
The 2018 edition in San Francisco was a resounding success, delivering extensive sporting, social and economic benefits for the wider Bay Area and showcasing the world’s best men's and women's sevens players to an unprecedented domestic and global audience.
Beaumont added: "Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 attracted a record attendance for a rugby event in the USA of 100 000, generated a record domestic broadcast audience of more than nine million and showcased the very best of San Francisco and rugby to a global broadcast audience in 224 territories. Research conducted by Nielsen Sport confirmed that the tournament generated a US$90.5 million economic contribution to San Francisco, so it was ground-breaking on every level."
The 2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens will be played during the September and October window, taking into consideration the international calendar which includes the World Rugby Sevens Series and the Commonwealth Games in July 2022.
The event will again comprise 24 men's and 16 women's teams and will be played over three days in one venue.
The unions have been issued the formal bid application documents and now have until July 16, 2019 to submit their responses.
The host nation for the 2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens will be announced on October 29, 2019.
The Rugby World Cup Sevens event is contested every four years, with tournaments for men's and women's national teams co-hosted at the same venues.
The first tournament was held in 1993 in Scotland, the birthplace of rugby sevens. The winners of the men's tournament are awarded the Melrose Cup, named after the Scottish town of Melrose where the first rugby sevens game was played. The women's tournament was inaugurated at the 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens held in Dubai.
In the men's event, New Zealand have won the tournament three times, Fiji twice, and England and Wales a single tournament each, while South Africa, Argentina and Australia have reached tournament finals but not secured a title.
In the women's event, Australia won the first tournament in 2009 and New Zealand won the second and third tournaments in 2013 and 2018.
New Zealand are the current men's and women's world champions having won both tournaments in 2018.