World Rugby shoots down Coronavirus World Cup

World Rugby has dismissed the proposal of holding an international tournament in the UK in 2021 to alleviate the financial pressure of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Former England RFU chief executive Francis Baron put forward the idea of a 16-team invitational tournament to be hosted by the UK and Ireland between June and July next year.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Baron predicted that the tournament could bring in between £200-250 million in net profit to be distributed to the rugby unions.

This would be a major financial boost as international unions have had to make massive pay cuts in order to survive the pandemic, which has shut down sport accross the globe.

However, the tournament would come into conflict with the British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa in 2021, which led to rumours that the tour would have to be postponed by a year.

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In a statement released on Wednesday, World Rugby said that they do not intend to take the proposal any further, effectively shutting down Baron’s idea.

‘World Rugby notes a proposal by former RFU CEO Francis Baron suggesting the organisation of a major international rugby event in the UK in 2021 to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on global rugby,’ the statement read.

‘World Rugby does not intend to pursue such a proposal. All stakeholders continue to progress productive discussions regarding the immediate global COVID-19 financial relief strategy and international rugby calendar optimisation, both of which will further the success of Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.’

SA Rugby president Mark Alexander on Wednesday also rubbished reports that the tournament could impact the Lions tour in any way, reiterating the ‘2021 Tour Agreement was cast in stone’.

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