Goodbye Champions Cup - hello Club World Cup?

The Heineken Champions Cup will make way for a new Club World Cup - that's if French Rugby Federatio...

Goodbye Champions Cup - hello...


Goodbye Champions Cup - hello Club World Cup?

The Heineken Champions Cup will make way for a new Club World Cup - that's if French Rugby Federation (FFR) president Bernard Laporte gets his way. 

He's been discussing his radical plan which he says would boost the takings of the biggest clubs around the globe.

European rugby chiefs are not so keen.

In an interview with Midi Olympique, Laporte unveiled his plan for a six-week, 20-team global tournament to be held annually.

The primary casualty of such a creation would be the Heineken Champions Cup, which Laporte feels isn't a big enough revenue generator.

"The European competition is magnificent,[as head coach] with Toulon I was able to lift the trophy three times and I know what it can represent," Laporte told the French rugby paper

"But let’s be frank, it does not generate enough income.

"If we want to develop this Club World Cup, we have to find dates. Without the Champions Cup, nine weekends are available."

Perhaps understandably, Laporte's comments have not gone down well with Heineken Champions Cup organisers - EPCR.

In a statement released on Monday night, they said:

Discussions have already taken place on an official level between EPCR and its shareholders regarding a global club tournament which could complement the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup and which could take place once every four years. Work on possible formats is ongoing with a collaborative approach and issues of player welfare to the fore.

EPCR does not believe it appropriate to highlight such discussions while the public health crisis due to COVID-19 continues, and currently, the organisation’s focus is on attempting to reschedule the knockout stages of the 2019/20 tournaments subject to government and local authority directives.

Rather than being spread across the season like the Champions Cup, Laporte's proposed Club World Cup would be run on World Cup format with four groups of five, quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final.

Only four Guinness Pro14 teams would be allowed entry, with six from Super Rugby, four from the English Premiership, four from France's Top 14 plus the champions of both Japan and the United States.

Laporte has announced his plan when the game worldwide finds itself in financial peril as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unions have been forced into making cuts, competitions have been shelved indefinitely, and USA Rugby have even been forced to file for bankruptcy.

Laporte says he's already taken his idea to presidents of Top 14 clubs in France, as well as English RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney and "all are excited by such a project", but there is no mention of the PRO14 reaction to his suggestion.

"This is only a proposal,” Laporte said, “but I am 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."

In order to make his proposal a reality, Laporte says he's been working with World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont and rearranging the calendar to suit his measure.

Laporte later underlined his proposal in conversation with RMC saying, "We have to be able to create this product where the best players in the world are gathered for 6 weeks.

"It would generate ticket sales, TV rights, entertainment!"

Read more about

Bernard Laporte Bill Beaumont European Champions Cup Guinness Pro14 Heineken Champions Cup Top 14 World Rugby

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