World Rugby shut down talks of mini World Cup

International
by RUGBY.com.au staff

World Rugby have shut down a proposal from ex-RFU boss Francis Baron for a mini "coronavirus Cup" to be held in 2021 to give the game a financial boost.

Baron proposed the idea of having the leading 16 nations play off in a mini-world cup format in 2021 in a bid to recoup some of the financial losses unions have felt in the coronavirus pandemic.

The proposal included a plan to play a tournament in June and July of 2021, postponing next year's Lions tour to South Africa, and playing matches across the home nations' stadiums.

Baron, who was behind the staging of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, told the UK's Telegraph the tournament could create hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

"The 2015 World Cup generated net profits for the game of around £400 million ($A741 million). I believe this could -generate a net profit for distribution to unions of £200 to £250 million ($A370 million).

"This would be in addition to the £80 million ($A148 million) World Rugby support funding package already in place."

World Rugby released a statement on Thursday morning (AEST), ruling out any support of the plan.

"World Rugby notes a proposal by former RFU CEO Francis Baron suggesting the organisation of a major international rugby event in the UK in 2021 to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on global rugby," the statement read.

"World Rugby does not intend to pursue such a proposal.

"All stakeholders continue to progress productive discussions regarding the immediate global COVID-19 financial relief strategy and international rugby calendar optimisation, both of which will further the success of Rugby World Cup 2023 in France."