The prospect of rugby's calendar being overhauled looks more and more real, after both the Six Nations and SANZAAR confirmed they are working on a new, aligned structure.
It had previously suggested that the start of the Six Nations could be pushed back by month, to run concurrently with the rescheduled Rugby Championship, with the 6N countries reportedly on board.
That's now looking a likely scenario, with a joint-statement from both the Six Nations and SANZAAR, explaining the broad details of their recent dialogue.
They say they have been making progress on discussions to bring greater alignment and clarity to the rugby calendar.
“Following the World Rugby meetings in March this year, SANZAAR and the Six Nations (“the Nations”) have been working closely over the lockdown period against a set of key principles between the parties, to develop and agree proposals for an aligned global calendar,” reads the Six Nations statement.
“Even though there may be different preferences, from the outset the Nations have adopted a mindset that has sought to eliminate self-interest and recognise that the international and club game have shared mutual benefits that if approached and managed correctly can enable both to flourish.
“A further consultation process, in total transparency with unions, clubs and players, will commence as all parties work towards an aligned global calendar that can deliver a clear and coherent narrative.
“The Nations together with other key stakeholders remain open to shape the options that have been developed in an effort to resolve an issue that has held the game back for many years and are committed to putting rugby on a progressive path.”
The joint statement goes in to outline seven key principles they are working towards;
- Significantly mitigate overlaps between club and country fixtures
- Better aligned player release windows for players, stakeholders and competitions
- Improve player welfare
- Improve narrative and competitiveness of International and Domestic Competitions around clear windows
- Define clear high-performance pathways for Emerging Nations through the delivery of an internationally more inclusive game
- Evolve competition structures that are underpinned with enhanced commercial offerings
- Restore public faith in the core values of rugby and showing strong collective leadership in the best interests of the game.
This morning's statement does not go into specific details for possible tournament changes or formats.
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