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Women's Six Nations could stay in standalone spring window in the future

CEO Ben Morel says a specific window could ‘enhance and give appropriate visibility’ to the championship.

Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

THE POSTPONED 2021 Women’s Six Nations is set to be played in late spring – with an announcement due next week – and could remain in that standalone window in the future.

The women’s championship has traditionally been played on the same weekends as the men’s competition but this year’s edition was postponed due to challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Six Nations CEO Ben Morel has indicated that details for the rescheduled championship are imminent and said that organisers are exploring the possibility of the women’s competition remaining in the new window in the future.

“Obviously, it was a very hard decision [postponement] but it was mainly driven by the amateur status of many of our athletes and it was definitely the reasonable route to take,” said Morel during today’s online launch for the men’s Six Nations.

“We’re definitely looking at a later window in the spring, we are having to factor multiple elements in.

“It’s a Rugby World Cup year [scheduled for September and October in New Zealand], some of our unions are still in the process of qualifying for that event, and others are eager to prepare appropriately for the event so we are in the process of finalising that. 

“I know one of the possibilities is definitely in order for the women’s tournament to be in the limelight. We are strongly thinking about moving it to a specific window and that is one of the working assumptions that we have for the future.

“We are seeing what window would be appropriate, looking at the women’s international calendar and growing club game as well.

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“I’m a strong believer that the specific window would enhance and give appropriate visibility.

“At the same time, not by design, but we are going to be in a position to test that this year because of the rescheduling of the tournament and I’m going to be looking at that carefully to see what learning we can get.”

Morel confirmed that the Six Nations has not yet found a UK broadcaster for the women’s championship but said organisers are “extremely confident” that will soon be resolved.

There is also still no title sponsor for the Women’s Six Nations but Morel insisted that will also be remedied soon.

“We’ve had several really positive discussions but it’s a matter of finding the right partner that will embrace the opportunity in the long term and align with our strategy.

“It’s not a case of finding a partner for the sake of finding a partner, it’s finding the right one that will help elevate the Championship for many years to come.

“There’s a bit more work to be done there, but we are very confident in the fantastic tournament that the Women’s Six Nations represents and the fantastic growth opportunity it is.”

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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