World Rugby Shelves Plans For Revolutionary Nations Championship

22 Juin, 2019, 13:55 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • South Africa’s RG Snyman catches a high ball during the Rugby Championship Test match between Australia and South Africa at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on 8 September 2018

The fixtures would have taken place in traditional competitions like the Six Nations and Rugby Championship, as well as during summer and autumn test windows, with the top two teams meeting in the final at the end of the year.

World Rugby's concept to unify worldwide rugby across both hemispheres - a tournament played outside of World Cup years and culminating in a final played at the end of the November Test window - was underpinned by a guaranteed UK£6.1 billion (US$7.8 billion) cash injection by global sports marking agency, Infront, over an initial 12-year period, World Rugby confirmed.

Wednesday was the deadline for leading worldwide unions and federations from the Six Nations and southern hemisphere Rugby Championship to agree unanimously to proceed with a major revamp of the Test calendar, underpinned by a 12-year £6.1 billion "guarantee" from sports marketing agency Infront Sports & Media, backed by Hong Kong-based parent company Wanda Sports.

World Rugby says there was a "lack of consensus on key issues" including timing and the tournament's format.

"Importantly, ownership of the competition would have been retained by the unions and competition owners without any sale of equity".

World Rugby said it had been unable to bring all 10 top tier nations on board with media reports suggesting the potential for promotion and relegation was the sticking point for some of the less successful northern hemisphere nations.

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The official Six Nations statement read: "Six Nations notes the decision of World Rugby to discontinue plans for the proposed World Rugby Nations Championship (WRNC)".

A host of internationals - including Johnny Sexton and Owen Farrell - opposed the competition citing player welfare while World Rugby cited the financial potential that the format could have generated.

Sir Bill Beaumont, World Rugby's chairman, said: "World Rugby undertook this important project with the best interests of the global game at heart in line with our vision to grow the sport as a game for all".

The southern hemisphere rugby powers on Thursday expressed their disappointment at the loss of the "golden opportunity" offered by the Nations Championship, the potentially transformative Test competition which World Rugby abandoned on Wednesday.

Pacific Islands campaigners fear the shake-up would reduce opportunities for Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, given the November internationals would be redrawn.

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