Reports in the UK suggest that a blueprint has been agreed upon for a new ‘Club World Cup’ tournament where the best of the northern and southern hemispheres would face off every four years from 2025.
According to the Telegraph Sport, the new 16-team tournament would pit the best eight northern-hemisphere clubs against seven from the south and one from Japan.
The proposed format would divide the teams into four pools, with each club playing two games against teams from the opposite hemisphere. The winners of each pool would progress to the semi-finals, before a grand final is held to crown an overall club champion.
This format has reportedly been endorsed by key stakeholders and all that is left is a final stage of talks around due dilligence and travel plans, which could be concluded in September.
After joining the Champions Cup, South Africa’s Vodacom United Rugby Championship clubs – the Sharks, Stormers, Bulls and Lions – would be part of the northern hemisphere.
Qualification for the new tournament would be purely on merit, with no particular nation guaranteed involvement.
The Club World Cup would reportedly start in 2025 – ahead of the British & Irish Lions tour of Australia – and would replace that season’s Champions Cup playoffs.
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