Bernard Laporte Has Proposed A Radical Change To Club Rugby

Ruben Hill
April 7, 2020

French Rugby Federation president Bernard Laporte - who wants to run World Rugby alongside Bill Beaumont and hopes to be elected as vice-chairman next month - has proposed the new competition.

Laporte, who is vying to be World Rugby's vice-chairman next month, has been formulating the plan alongside the governing body's chairman, Bill Beaumont, since the World Cup a year ago.

'It could be a breath of fresh air for the whole of world rugby.

Any resistance to the proposal may come around who governs the tournament with World Rugby obviously eyeing that, a move that would require compensation to Europe if their club tournaments have to go to make it happen.

The Club World Cup, part of their manifesto before the World Rugby elections next month, would involve four pools of five teams, made up of four from the Premiership, the Pro14 and the Top14, six from Super Rugby and one each from the US and Japan. Without the Champions Cup, there are nine weekends freed up.

"All are excited by such a project", Laporte said. There is a sense that the competition should be run by the clubs, rather than World Rugby, that it should take place every four years and that it should not spell the end for the Champions Cup.

'The goal of my approach is to find the income that will allow unions to finance both the professional and amateur world. This crisis must push us to be innovative.

Laporte's plans for a Club World Cup would be similar to the quadrennial Rugby World Cup competition and would feature 20 teams split into four pools of five, followed by quarterfinals, semifinals and a final. The champions of Major League Rugby in the United States and Top League in Japan would also qualify.

Whether sacrificing the Champions Cup, for so long the standard-bearer of European club competition, fulfils this remit remains to be seen. "Let's make this new competition, I'm sure that the public, partners and televisions will follow", Laporte was quoted as saying by French newspaper Midi Olympique.

"EPCR has noted today's media reports regarding a proposal for an annual Club World Cup", the statement read. Super Rugby would be held from February to May, with the Rugby Championship taking place in August and September.

"EPCR does not believe it appropriate to highlight such discussions while the public health crisis due to Covid-19 continues, and now, the organisation's focus is on attempting to reschedule the knockout stages of the 2019/20 tournaments subject to government and local authority directives".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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