World Rugby drops Nations Championship plans

20 Jun 2019

By: Sport Industry Group

World Rugby has announced that it has taken the “reluctant decision” to discontinue plans for a new Nations Championship.

The decision has been taken after the required unanimous agreement by unions to enter into exclusive negotiations was not achieved by Wednesday’s deadline.

World Rugby said that a lack of consensus on issues such as the timing and format of promotion and relegation left it with no alternative but to drop plans for the competition.

The governing body had insisted that plans for the Nations Championship had made “strong progress” in collaboration with unions, competition owners and international players.

World Rugby’s Nations Championship vision was underpinned by a 12-year, £6.1bn guarantee from the Infront agency, backed by parent company Wanda Sports. 

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “World Rugby undertook this important project with the best interests of the global game at heart in line with our vision to grow the sport as a game for all.

“While we are naturally disappointed that a unanimous position on the Nations Championship could not be achieved among our unions, we remain fully committed to exploring alternative ways to enhance the meaning, value and opportunity of international rugby for the betterment of all unions.

"This includes our continued commitment to competition and investment opportunities for emerging nations to increase the competitiveness of the international game with a view to possible Rugby World Cup expansion in 2027.”

World Rugby said in a statement that Infront and Wanda remain fully committed to the governing body’s objectives.