'World Rugby not fully involving all stakeholders in Nations Championship talks'

'World Rugby not fully involving all stakeholders in Nations Championship talks'

'World Rugby not fully involving all stakeholders in Nations Championship talks'

In their second significant media statement around World Rugby's bid to realign the test calendar into a new global league - being called the Nations Championship - the International Rugby Players' Council have continued to reassert their place in the scheme of things.

World Rugby wants to launch a new cross-hemisphere contest in 2022, where the winners of the Six Nations will face off with the top team from an expanded, six-team Rugby Championship. Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones said: "We want to ensure that there will be no repeat of the current situation and that the frustrations over the lack of player consultation are addressed".

World Rugby, who was mandated by the unions to investigate the viability of an annual competition, argue this is a short-term outlook on growth due, with the blocking of promotion and relegation reducing competitiveness. "Players having a genuine, and greater say, can't be undervalued".

Among other announcements made by World Rugby, the proposed new format would be "underpinned by a record commercial partnership" with marketing company Infront, which they say will guarantee nearly £5 billion ($6.6 billion/€5.9 billion) for investment in the sport over 12 years. "Most teams would play 11 matches".

Plans for a new Nations Championship featuring promotion and relegation were first put forward by World Rugby's vice chairman Agustin Pichot as a way of developing the worldwide game.

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"Player welfare is fundamental to our sport", it added.

"We are at an important time in our game's history".

"Players understand, better than anyone, what happens at the coalface and how certain decisions impact both the players and the broader game, so it would be counterproductive to cast the player view aside".

"Moving forward we want to ensure that the players have independently appointed representation on the World Rugby Executive Committee and other key World Rugby decision making bodies".

Cash-strapped New Zealand, Australia and South Africa can't compete with wages offered by French and English clubs and support World Rugby's vision for greater worldwide depth in hopes of securing greater funds.

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Six Nations chiefs remain opposed to that inception, and that could prove the undoing of World Rugby's suggested Test game shake-up.

A commitment to invest in a Women's Nations Championship to accelerate the global competitiveness of the game.

The Six Nations has been offered £500m for a 30 per cent stake in the championship by private equity firm CVC Capital Partners.

The IRP - led by their president and world player of the year Johnny Sexton - were furious at what they saw were commercial interests being placed ahead of player welfare.

"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".

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