World Rugby defends under-fire Nations Championship concept

Annette Crawford
March 15, 2019

This week, several unions and the worldwide players' body will meet in Dublin to deliberate over the controversial new global rugby competition.

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.

World Rugby's Nations Championship plans include drafting in promotion and relegation for the Six Nations and the Rugby Championship.

World Rugby faces a massive task of trying to convince all tier one sides, including Japan and Fiji to accept revised plans for a World Nations League, something which recently a number of worldwide players like Johnny Sexton and Owen Farrell have objected to.

Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners is in the frame to take a minor stake in the Six Nations, and that scenario could prove the ultimate sticking point for the World Rugby blueprint. That would see the Six Nations' best sides facing off with the top Test teams from the Rugby Championship, plus two further nations drawn into that Southern Hemisphere competition.

Why would CVC buying into the Six Nations threaten World Rugby's Nations Championship?

Top English and French clubs have hinted at possible legal action against World Rugby's proposals for a world league.

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

CVC and the Six Nations declined to comment. Its drive to realise as much financial gain within the sport effectively translates into sponsorship and broadcasting rights.

It led World Rugby to publish its "Nations Championship" proposals. '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.

England captain Owen Farrell and Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton are among the game's biggest names to have warned of serious player welfare and integrity concerns over World Rugby's proposed new competition structure.

Cape Town - International Rugby Players has committed to Thursday's global competition discussions in order to explore options and see if a constructive solution for the game can be found. Early drafts for the Nations Championship set-up suggested the Pacific Island nations could be frozen out too.

'The players feel that the existing understanding between World Rugby and the players should evolve from a loose commitment to consult, to a requirement to reach agreement on certain key issues, ' De Villiers said. Its European company was founded in 1981 and boasts investments across the globe.

CVC has history in sports and entertainment, having owned stakes in Formula One, MotoGP, Merlin Entertainments, Virgin Active, Sky Bet and Stage Entertainment.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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