Thursday, 21 March, 2019

Test rugby stars demand a greater say ahead of global championship summit

Six Nations trophy Six Nations bosses are understood to be opposed to the idea of promotion and relegation
Sidney Guerrero | 15 March, 2019, 09:27

Major unions and the global players' union are meeting in Dublin this week to discuss a new Nations Championship concept but club representatives have not been invited.

While relegation is regarded as a fundamental aspect of the project, which the governing body hopes will create a pathway for emerging nations, it will not insist on including it in the first tournament scheduled for 2022.

It is believed that both Ireland and Scotland oppose the Nations League concept primarily because they do not agree with there being relegation and promotion for the Six Nations.

All ten nations, along with Fiji and Japan, will be addressed by World Rugby in Dublin today.

Top players had pre-empted the meeting by demanding a seat on World Rugby's executive committee, and the governing body responded by pledging to work with the International Rugby Players organisation and club bosses over the proposals.

The Six Nations could pool TV rights from their own competition and the autumn Tests to offer significant funding boosts to the top northern hemisphere unions.

The Six Nations is considering an offer from former Formula One owners CVC Capital Partners to take a stake in it which if accepted would scupper World Rugby's plans for their so-called Nations League, British media reported Wednesday.

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'The feeling on the call was that it is no longer appropriate for World Rugby and the unions to determine tournament structures, logistics and tournament terms of participation without getting to an agreed outcome with players'.

American firm CVC has already invested in the English Premiership league, and wants to push rugby forward at all top levels.

They remain on 1808 points, while Italy fans are just four points behind as they look to fare better than their national side, who remain bottom of the Six Nations table. And where television is concerned, the way for CVC to maximise revenue is to strike a deal for the Six Nations to be screened on pay subscription services.

Why so much opposition to World Rugby's Nations Championship?

But the idea received criticism from some players and unions for, among other things, supposedly not prioritising player welfare or taking into account concerns of the club game.

World Rugby's plan is to amalgamate the fragmented global rugby calendar around a single annual competition that would have the Six Nations regularly play those involved in the southern hemisphere's "Rugby Championship"- New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina. Early drafts for the Nations Championship set-up suggested the Pacific Island nations could be frozen out too.

Commitment to work with International Rugby Players and the leading domestic club competitions to optimise the model. Its European company was founded in 1981 and boasts investments across the globe.

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