Anti-World League revolt gains momentum
REACTION: England’s Premiership Rugby and France’s National Rugby League issued a withering statement on World Rugby’s proposed ‘Nations Championship’.
The two major competitions joined forces to express their opposition to the controversial proposed annual tournament.
There has been widespread opposition, as details of the World League have leaked out in recent weeks.
World Rugby has moved to dispel so-called misinformation and fears that a number of Tier 2 nations will effectively be frozen out of the competition.
While more details of the structure of the two league system were clarified last week, it is clear that both Premiership Rugby and the LNR are not happy with what they see as a lack of involvement with the process.
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“LNR and PRL regret the fact that World Rugby is not fully involving all stakeholders, in seeking a consensus, and they can only reserve the option to take any action to preserve their right and competitions,” they said in a joint statement.
PRL and LNR added the world governing body had broken an agreement which was reached in January 2017 about future plans for the international game running until 2032.
A further complaint by the organisations that oversee the English Premiership as well as the French Top 14 and ProD2 was the increase in the number of international fixtures in a season due to the proposed competition.
World Rugby outlined its concept for the new tournament last Wednesday, which would start in 2022, ahead of meetings in Dublin this week, saying it was “committed to the global advancement of rugby”.
The proposed Championship would see the formation of two conferences – a European conference and a rest of the world conference – each with two divisions of six teams and a third division comprising 16 teams.
World Rugby was widely criticised by players’ unions over the idea of a 12-team league, which was reportedly initially considered.
A boycott of this year’s World Cup in Japan is being mooted by the London-based Pacific Rugby Players Welfare organisation to include even individuals of Pacific Island origin playing for other countries.