World Rugby has announced that a final decision on the 2020 rugby calendar will be made by its council vote on 30 June.
Representatives from the game’s top nations and leagues met on Monday to discuss both the short- and long-term future of the game, including the potential adjustments to the global international calendar.
One of the main topics of discussion was a possible extended autumn window, during which Test matches would be played throughout October and November, to generate much-needed revenue when the game is allowed to resume after Covid-19.
In a statement, World Rugby said: ‘Whilst not a decision-making forum, Monday’s World Rugby Professional Game Forum provided the initial platform for national unions, international and professional club competitions and players to exchange frank views and consider immediate and long-term calendar reform in line with the guiding core principles of recognising the needs of the international and domestic game and enhancing player welfare.’
‘With the global Covid-19 pandemic significantly impacting the 2020 rugby calendar and union and club finances, all parties recognise the need to agree a compromise solution that enables both disrupted professional club and international competitions to be completed this year.
‘In the absence of full alignment, further information sharing and discussion will be undertaken with all parties regarding the viability of proposed adjustments to the 2020 international release weekends stipulated in Regulation 9 that will enable postponed and other international matches to be played in an adjusted window from October, while enabling the completion of existing club competitions.
‘The final decision on 2020 will be confirmed by vote of the World Rugby Council on 30 June following consideration and recommendation by the World Rugby Executive Committee.’
According to reports in Europe, talks will continue over moving the July window to October on a permanent basis, reducing the number of international breaks from three to two.
‘There was also commitment to further detailed commercial and player welfare modelling in full collaboration with the club game to better assess the viability and attractiveness, for all parties, of a potential new ongoing global release period of October/November from 2021, replacing the July window,’ the World Rugby statement continued.
‘All stakeholders believe that meaningful reform of the international calendar is necessary in a much-changed post-Covid-19 environment to revitalise the global game and deliver much-needed alignment between international and club rugby with fewer overlaps and enhanced player rest periods.’
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