Nations offered 5 billion pound carrot for new global league

World Rugby say that the proposed new international tournament can earn over €5bn

World Rugby's hopes of reshaping the worldwide game have been boosted after they revealed a £5bn offer to back their Nations Championship plans.

"The proposed format would be underpinned by a record commercial partnership with leading global sports marketing company Infront, guaranteeing nearly £5billion ($9.7 billion) for investment in the sport over an initial 12-year period (of which more than £1.5b ($2.9 billion) is guaranteed incremental revenue for the world game)".

This would bring each nation an increase to its annual revenue of £100-130 million.

Between them, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa have won all but one of the Rugby World Cups but have often struggled financially, and in recent years faced a drain of talent heading north to the wealthier European leagues. By the end of today's meeting, it had become increasingly clear that they just needed the Six Nations unions to jump with them.

However, World Rugby have since updated the blueprint for the competition, adding a promotion-relegation mechanism to provide tier two and three nations a pathway to compete with tier one countries, while reducing its initial number of fixtures by removing the semi-final round of the competition in a bid to address player welfare concerns.

World Rugby were cautious in their response.

World Rugby also re-affirmed its commitment to work with International Rugby Players and the leading domestic club competitions to optimise the model.

They also committed to invest in a Women's Nations Championship to accelerate the global competitiveness of the game.

At the meeting of unions, competition owners and worldwide player representatives, World Rugby outlined details of a new competition model that entails a three-division format and a system of promotion and relegation.

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"These are exciting but complex discussions which require us to strike a balance between doing what's best for fans, Australian Rugby as well as the global game, and the players".

"World Rugby has been working very hard on finding a solution that ensures the future growth of the game in New Zealand and around the world, including the Pacific", Tew said.

Fiji, and Japan, the 12th ranked nation, will potentially join the Six Nations teams and Rugby Championship teams in a tournament to be played every non-World Cup year. "It is in our interests to grow the audience to ensure it is an attractive proposition for both media and sponsors".

World Rugby Vice-Chairman Agustín Pichot added: "We are at an important time in our game's history".

"We have an opportunity to change the landscape of the game for the long-term betterment of all unions".

Unions from the world's top-tier rugby nations joined stakeholders for further discussions on Thursday in response to criticism from several parties of the global rugby union body's plans to revise the worldwide Test calendar.

"We must work together to ensure the best possible future for our sport - a future where everyone is included and where everyone contributes to and benefits from a truly global game".

While the concept has been embraced by the two southern hemisphere nations, Six Nations bosses are understood to be opposed to the idea of promotion and relegation that underpins the Nations Championship concept.

The decision comes after Wales and Australia's Test captains, Alun Wyn Jones and Michael Hooper, requested that players are given a place at the World Rugby table so that key decisions don't bypass the athletes.

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