Plans Put In Place For £250m World Cup Style Tournament In The UK & Ireland
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The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has been urged to back a once in a lifetime World Cup-style tournament in the UK and Ireland next summer which could potentially raise up to £250 million for struggling unions, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Proposals for a 16-team invitational tournament, to be held in June and July next year, have reportedly been submitted to World Rugby and the RFU, with a fitting working title of the Coronavirus Cup of World Rugby.
The plan, drawn up by former RFU chief executive Francis Baron is based on the 2015 World Cup in England and would involve playing matches at the national stadiums of each of the four home unions of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
The tournament would see 31 matches take place over six weeks but if it gets the go-ahead the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa next year would have to be postponed until the summer of 2022 to minimise disruption to domestic leagues.
Barron said 100 per cent of the profits would be distributed to the unions to support professional and community games and noted that it was necessary to take “exceptional measures to deal with an exceptional crisis.”
“The key will be winning the support of the southern hemisphere unions but, with everyone facing horrendous financial challenges, this is a bold and ambitious plan to raise large amounts of new cash from which they will be major beneficiaries,” Baron said.
“The 2015 World Cup generated net profits for the game of around £400 million. I believe this could -generate a net profit for distribution to unions of £200 to £250 million.
“This would be in addition to the £80 million World Rugby support funding package already in place.”
The draft for the tournament involves South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, Japan, England, France, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, United States and Canada.
“Time is short, but we can do this. To use the famous Second World War dictum, what is needed is ‘action this day’,” Baron added.