Global Aligned Season - May 2020

May 21 2020


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SANZAAR, Six Nations, World Rugby Issue Statements on Aligned Global Calendar



It may be a while before International Rugby gets going again but the powers that be are putting that time to good use in working out a contentious issue, a global season.

Rugby XVs has long been considered a winter sport, the November tests in the northern hemisphere, the June/July tests in the southern hemisphere. The northern hemisphere Six Nations in February, the southern hemisphere Rugby Championship in August. The aligning of a global season will see compromises and changes.

Tier 2 Nations, like Canada, will likely follow on with what the Tier 1 nations agree on as that will drive World Rugby's decision making. It will change the national teams' schedules and that may trickle down to the community game as well. We'll wait and see what happens.

Statement from Six Nations

Following the World Rugby meetings in March this year, SANZAAR and the Six Nations (“the Nations”) have been working closely over the lockdown period against a set of key principles between the parties, to develop and agree proposals for an aligned global calendar.

Even though there may be different preferences, from the outset the Nations have adopted a mindset that has sought to eliminate self-interest and recognise that the international and club game have shared mutual benefits that if approached and managed correctly can enable both to flourish.

A further consultation process, in total transparency with unions, clubs and players, will commence as all parties work towards an aligned global calendar that can deliver a clear and coherent narrative.

The key principles that have underpinned the work to date are:

1. Significantly mitigate overlaps between club and country fixtures

2. Better aligned player release windows for players, stakeholders and competitions

3. Improve player welfare

4. Improve narrative and competitiveness of International and Domestic Competitions around clear windows

5. Define clear high-performance pathways for Emerging Nations through the delivery of an internationally more inclusive game

6. Evolve competition structures that are underpinned with enhanced commercial offerings

7. Restore public faith in the core values of rugby and showing strong collective leadership in the best interests of the game.

The Nations together with other key stakeholders remain open to shape the options that have been developed in an effort to resolve an issue that has held the game back for many years and are committed to putting rugby on a progressive path.

Statement from World Rugby

World Rugby welcomes commitment from the Six Nations and SANZAAR for closer collaboration to ensure a more harmonious global calendar for all stakeholders.

World Rugby has consistently supported and championed reform of the international calendar for the betterment of the sport as a whole, including all unions, international and club competition organisers, and players.

Within regular and productive discussions between stakeholders, World Rugby is working to ensure that any calendar outcome recognises the global nature of our sport, and therefore the competition needs of all nations at all levels.

Any proposed competition model must also prioritise player welfare considerations, the women’s game, and protect the funding model of the wider game which is driven by the growth in the value of Rugby World Cup.

World Rugby looks forward to further close collaboration with all parties to reach the best outcome for the global game. A decision on any adjustment to the current global calendar and its international release windows will need to be considered and taken by the World Rugby Council.

Pemberton Holmes
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