French Rugby Federation president Bernard Laporte wants to see the European Champions Cup replaced by an annual 20-team Club World Cup.
Laporte, who coached France between 1999 and 2007, spoke to Midi Olympique and told the publication that the idea has already been discussed with World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont.
The plan involves 20 teams playing over six weekends. The teams would be divided into four groups, with five teams in each group. Two teams would progress to quarter-finals, before a semi-final and grand final.
The proposed competition would involve four teams from the French Top 14, four from the English Premiership, four from the PRO14 and six from Vodacom Super Rugby. The champions of Major League Rugby in the United States and Top League in Japan would also qualify.
A major motivating factor for the tournament appears to be financial, as Laporte believes that it would result in far greater revenue than the Champions Cup.
Laporte’s suggestion is that Club World Cup take place in late June and throughout July. Super Rugby would be held from February to May, with the Rugby Championship taking place in August and September. Internationals between the northern and southern hemisphere would be held in October and November. The southern-hemisphere nations would then take a break in December and January, when the northern-hemisphere leagues start again.
‘The European Cup is magnificent, I was able to lift the trophy three times with Toulon and I know what it can represent,’ Laporte told Midi Olympique.
‘But let’s be frank, it doesn’t generate enough income. If we want to develop this Club World Cup, we have to find dates. Without the Champions Cup, there are nine weekends freed up.
‘This is only a proposal,’ he stressed. ‘But I’m sure of one thing: we must create this competition and very quickly.
‘It could be a breath of fresh air for the whole of world rugby. This crisis must push us to be innovative. Let’s make this new competition, I’m sure that the public and television will follow.’
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