LONDON (AP) — A rugby Club World Cup is being discussed among Europe’s elite.
European Professional Club Rugby, which represents European clubs, said on Monday it was in ongoing talks about staging a global club tournament every four years that would complement existing competitions.
The reveal was prompted after French Rugby Federation president Bernard Laporte proposed an annual Club World Cup that would replace the European Champions Cup.
Laporte told Midi Olympique newspaper he’s mulled the idea with World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont, England CEO Bill Sweeney, and the French Top 14 clubs. Laporte hopes next month to be elected the World Rugby vice chairman.
The EPCR said in a statement, “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.”
Laporte’s plan involved 20 teams: 4 from the Top 14, 4 from the English Premiership, 4 from the Pro14, 6 from Super Rugby, and the champions from Japan’s Top League and America’s Major League Rugby.
They would be divided into four pools, with quarterfinals through to a final, and played over six weekends in June and July.
Laporte believed a Club World Cup would generate far more profits than the European Champions Cup.
“The European Cup is magnificent, I was able to lift the trophy three times with Toulon and I know what it can represent,” Laporte told Midi Olympique. “But let’s be frank, it doesn’t generate enough income.
“I’m 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. This (coronavirus) crisis must push us to be innovative. Let’s make this new competition, I’m sure that the public and television will follow.”
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