Six Nations CEO responds to rugby shake-up talks

31 Jan 2019

By: Sport Industry Group

Six Nations Chief Executive Ben Morel has issued a statement emphasising that the addition of any new international competition to the rugby calendar will need to offer a “substantial improvement on the current set up.”

It follows a meeting in Los Angeles this week between top tier rugby union and competition Chief Executives to discuss a radical shake-up of the international rugby schedule.

World Rugby has been tasked with exploring the viability of potential global competition formats to invigorate the test game, featuring international nations from both northern and southern hemispheres.

With concerns about a lack of competitiveness and commercial potential of international rugby, the formation of a new annual competition has been discussed which would be positioned between Rugby World Cups.

The plan is to build on the foundations of existing competitions in the calendar and invigorate the July and November windows.

The governing body had described the U.S. talks on the prospect of an annual unified global tournament as “positive and productive.”

But Morel stressed that any future adaptations would need avoid “diluting key existing and leading competitions such as Six Nations.”

In attendance at the LA meeting alongside Morel were Brett Gosper, World Rugby CEO, Head of Strategy and Corporate Affairs at the RFU Ben Calverly and Andy Marinos of SANZAAR, the body which operates the Rugby Championship and Super Rugby.

Morel's statement read: “I attended a productive meeting in Los Angeles for early stage exploratory discussions relating to the complex matters of the International Rugby calendar.

“It is clear that any future adaptations, to be considered, will need to be a substantial improvement on the current set up, which is successful as the latest Autumn Internationals series can attest.

“It would also need to fully consider player welfare aspects and not dilute key existing and leading competitions such as Six Nations.”

Morel added: “My immediate focus is to ensure the Six Nations continues to be a resounding success for our fans, our players, our unions as well as for our broadcast partners and sponsors and to build firm foundations of our heritage that makes our tournament peerless.”

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