Sunday 21 April 2019

Rugby chiefs to meet in Dublin to discuss controversial World League plans

Johnny Sexton previously spoke out against the plan
Johnny Sexton previously spoke out against the plan

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont has called a meeting to discuss the future of the international game amidst controversy over plans for a World League.

Representatives from all tier-one countries, along with Fiji, Japan, and the players' union, will gather in Dublin later this month.

A statement released by Beaumont read: "In light of continued speculation and commentary, I am convening a meeting of Chairmen and CEOs from tier one unions, Fiji and Japan, and player representatives in Dublin later this month to consider the way forward for an annual international competition.

"Contrary to reports, no decisions have been made. This is an ongoing and complex process with multiple stakeholders, some with differing views.

"Only by working together in the interests of the global game can we achieve something truly impactful in this important area for rugby's future global growth.

"I look forward to a constructive debate with my colleagues and productive outcomes."

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.

A new global season is due to kick off next year, running until 2032, while discussions have also taken place about a new World League that

would combine 12 international sides from both hemispheres in a competition

running through summer and autumn and culminating with play-offs and a final.

Top Pacific Islands stars will vote on whether to boycott the 2019 World Cup over the World League plans.

World Rugby is understood to be ready to omit Pacific Island nations Samoa, Tonga and Fiji from the competition, which could launch as early as 2020.

The Six Nations Test teams and the Rugby Championship nations would be joined by Japan and the United States under World Rugby's latest considerations.

Promotion and relegation has been mooted to hand tier-two nations like the Pacific Islands and Georgia the chance to step up, but the competition could also be ringfenced for 12 years at a time.

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