# Player power
Rugby players announce minimum conditions for future global competition
‘Players are actually in favour of a proper global season that works for everyone’

INTERNATIONAL RUGBY PLAYERS [IRP], the body that represents professional players around the world, has underlined that its members remain in favour of a global season as long as their minimum conditions are met.

Last year, World Rugby’s plans for an annual Nations Championship were scrapped after failing to gain the unanimous support of the game’s leading rugby unions.

IRP had also expressed serious reservations around the mooted global competition at the time, with Ireland’s Johnny Sexton saying that elements of the plan were “out of touch” and would place far too great a physical strain on players.

pieter-steph-du-toit-lifts-the-webb-ellis-trophy Billy Stickland / INPHO World Rugby player of the year Pieter-Steph du Toit. Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

While World Rugby’s proposal was abandoned, there are still hopes among many in the game that an annual global competition will see the light of day in the coming years.

As such, IRP has continued to discuss the possibility and its members have produced a list of “players’ principles” that the body says must “form the basis of any future global tournaments.”

IRP says professional rugby players are keen to see the current tier system in rugby removed in order to provide emerging nations with more meaningful games, therefore allowing the game to grow. 

Secondly, players are determined for any tournament plans to include “an optimal match, training, and travel load” to ensure that their physical and mental wellbeing is protected so they can perform to the highest level on a consistent basis.

IRP also states its members are keen for “a balance between club and country” whereby World Rugby’s Regulation 9 – which stresses the primacy of Test rugby – is adhered to so players “don’t feel compromised when leaving their clubs for international duty.”

Today’s statement also stresses that IRP wants any new global competition to involve a commercial model that allows players to be paid “a fair revenue share” and, finally, that the tournament “works for the fans.”

IRP says its players’ principles were presented to World Rugby and unions at a rugby athletes commission in December and then again last month in London. 

Current World Rugby player of the year, Pieter-Steph du Toit, underlined IRP’s desire to see these minimum conditions met.

“One of the things that was lost in the mix last year during the Nations Championship debate was that players are actually in favour of a proper global season that works for everyone,” said du Toit.

“But we’re against anything that burns players out, excludes emerging nations and doesn’t grow the game.

“These principles are a sound basis from which to start the discussion and of course we expect the players’ view to be properly considered from the outset of any talks.”

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