The UK National Lottery will fund the Rugby Football Union (RFU), the Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) and the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) to ensure they can field GB Sevens teams for the 2021 season ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

The deal was made possible because of a commercial partnership with the National Lottery promotional fund. No money allocated for National Lottery Good Causes or by Camelot is being used to fund the teams.

Nigel Railton, Chief Executive of National Lottery operator Camelot, said: “Every day The National Lottery and its players make a huge difference to communities across the UK – and have been doing so since 1994.

“This clever partnership demonstrates how by working together we can have a real impact on a sport and boost the chances of gold in Tokyo next summer. The loss of spectators and cancellation of events has had such an impact on various sports I am proud that we are able to support the GB Sevens programme after a difficult year.”

The National Lottery will be acknowledged in a variety of ways as part of the partnership, and National Lottery players will benefit from tickets to events and unique opportunities with the GB Sevens teams.

Both men’s and women’s GB Sevens teams will take part in the World Sevens Series in the build-up to next summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, before the 2021 season concludes.

RFU Performance Director Conor O’Shea, added: “We’re delighted to have secured this partnership with The National Lottery and thank National Lottery players. This is a great opportunity for GB Sevens and vital preparation ahead of next summer’s Olympic Games.

“We’re very grateful to the individual Unions and their partners for their co-operation, understanding and continued support. We know the current uncertain circumstances mean there will likely be challenges along the way but we’re very much looking forward to developing our plans further.”

Earlier this month, the National Lottery Community Fund announced it had distributed more than £650m to communities across the UK throughout 2020 (January 1 to November 25), thanks to National Lottery player spend.