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World Rugby calls meeting in Dublin after backlash around World League

The governing body’s chairman, Bill Beaumont, will meet representatives of the tier one nations, as well as Japan and Fiji.

WORLD RUGBY WILL convene a meeting in Dublin this month to further discuss plans for a World League.

Last week saw International Rugby Players, the global body representing professional rugby players, issue a strongly-worded statement expressing their concerns over a proposed 12-nation World League that not include promotion and relegation.

Ireland’s Johnny Sexton, All Blacks captain Kieran Read and England’s Owen Farrell were all quoted in the statement, which focused on possible player workload issues, as well as the exclusion of the Pacific Island nations.

The Fiji team after the game Fiji will be involved in the meeting in Dublin this month. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

World Rugby has since moved to distance themselves from the reported proposal and argued that the International Rugby Players statement included some “inaccurate assumptions.”

With the backlash spreading throughout the world of rugby in recent days, World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont has now called a meeting in Dublin – where the governing body’s offices are based – to discuss a route forward.

The chairmen and CEOs of all tier one unions, as well as those from Japan and Fiji, will be present at the meeting, as will International Rugby Players, with Beaumont insisting that no decisions about the future of Test rugby have been made yet.

“In light of continued speculation and commentary, I am convening a meeting of chairmen and CEOs from tier one unions, Fiji and Japan and player representatives in Dublin later this month to consider the way forward for an annual international competition,” said Beaumont in a World Rugby statement.

“Contrary to reports, no decisions have been made. This is an ongoing and complex process with multiple stakeholders, some with differing views.

Bill Beaumont and Augustin Pichot World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont and vice-chairman Agustin Pichot. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“Only by working together in the interests of the global game can we achieve something truly impactful in this important area for rugby’s future global growth. I look forward to a constructive debate with my colleagues and productive outcomes.”

World Rugby vice-chairman Agustin Pichot has used his Twitter account to stress that his position around the League of Nations has been to push for a two-tier competition involving 12 teams in each tier with promotion and relegation.

Meanwhile, Brett Gosper, World Rugby’s CEO, has suggested that the reported proposal around the World League contains “many inaccuracies” and stressed that the governing body has “pushed for relegation/promotion which is not universally supported.”

It remains to be seen how the meeting in Dublin this month goes, but it is clear that there is much work yet to be done around the World League.

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Murray Kinsella

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