LONDON – World Rugby’s ambitious plans to revolutionise the sport with an annual global tournament have been ditched after failing to achieve the unanimous agreement of member countries.
Rugby union chiefs wanted to launch a new cross-hemisphere Nations Championship from 2022, in which the first and second-placed sides of Europe’s Six Nations would face off against the two countries at top of an expanded, six-team southern hemisphere Rugby Championship in end of year semi-finals and subsequent final.
The proposals were backed by a record commercial partnership worth nearly £5 billion of investment.
However, the controversial idea to introduce promotion and relegation to both championships were met with trepidation from unions who would run a huge financial risk if teams were relegated.
“World Rugby can confirm that it has taken the reluctant decision to discontinue plans for the Nations Championship after the required unanimous agreement by unions to enter into exclusive negotiations was not achieved by Wednesday’s deadline,” World Rugby said in a statement.