About time

Six Nations confirms it's working with SANZAAR on 'aligned global calendar'

The two bodies have been in discussions during the lockdown.

THE SIX NATIONS has confirmed that it is working with its Southern Hemisphere counterpart, SANZAAR, in a bid to create “an aligned global calendar.”

A statement from the Six Nations says the discussions have followed on from a World Rugby meeting in March and will continue as “all parties work towards an aligned global calendar that can deliver a clear and coherent narrative.”

Rugby fans around the world have been crying out for a more aligned global calendar for years, frustrated by the differences in schedule between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

jacob-stockdale-and-joey-carbery-celebrate-at-the-final-whistle Test rugby should be set for a major rejig to become more aligned. Bryan Keane / INPHO Bryan Keane / INPHO / INPHO

While today’s statement does not outline any of the potential proposals for aligning the calendar, it is clear that ensuring the Rugby Championship and Six Nations take place in the same window of the calendar will be an important part of any plans. 

The Six Nations says it and SANZAAR have agreed on several key principles that will guide their ongoing discussions around what the aligned calendar will look like.

Those principles, listed below, include negating overlaps between club and international games, ensuring players are released for Test rugby, and bringing about a better ‘narrative’ in club and international competitions.

Perhaps as importantly at anything, the principles underlined all parties’ intent to enhance the earning power of club and international rugby.

The key principles that the Six Nations says have underpinned the work to date are;

  1. Significantly mitigate overlaps between club and country fixtures
  2. Better aligned player release windows for players, stakeholders and competitions
  3. Improve player welfare
  4. Improve narrative and competitiveness of International and Domestic Competitions around clear windows
  5. Define clear high-performance pathways for Emerging Nations through the delivery of an internationally more inclusive game
  6. Evolve competition structures that are underpinned with enhanced commercial offerings
  7. Restore public faith in the core values of rugby and showing strong collective leadership in the best interests of the game.

“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.”

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