World Rugby Reveals Revised 'Nations Championship' Concept Following Crunch Talks In Dublin

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Six Nations considers £500m offer from CVC Capital Partners

CVC's bid for commercial rights for the Six Nations Championship would provide an alternative cash injection to the northern hemisphere teams and could serve to scupper World Rugby's plans.

Private equity firm CVC Capital made a £500 million (US$657.9 million) bid for a 30 per cent share in the Six Nations, European rugby union's annual Test tournament, according to United Kingdom news outlet the Times.

The leading French and English professional clubs have hinted at possible legal action if World Rugby proceeds with its proposed plans to restructure the worldwide game.

The Luxembourg-based buyout firm made the offer this week, according to two people familiar with the talks, spotting an opportunity to become a leading financial player in the development of rugby union worldwide.

It means that under the proposed new global system, players would play a maximum of 12 Nations Championship matches a year, compared to an average of between 12 and 14 matches now.

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It comes after the English Premiership and French Rugby League released a statement of their own criticising several aspects of the proposal.

Six Nations bosses are understood to be opposed to the idea of promotion and relegation, that underpins World Rugby's Nations Championship concept.

PRL and LNR added the world governing body had broken an agreement which was reached in January 2017 about future plans for the worldwide game running until 2032.

World Rugby reduced the schedule by removing the semi-final stage, with player welfare continuing to be a central consideration. "The professional leagues now seem to be excluded from this new work, even though the World Rugby project would be a major change to the San Francisco agreement for all elements of the professional game and impact other competitions", the statement read.

At a notably positive meeting of World Rugby's leading stakeholders, the top 12 nations were presented with the details of a future competition, known as the Nations Championship, for which a global sports marketing company, InFront, has offered £5 billion over 12 years.

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"We are encouraged that the format revisions and robust financial model has been well received".

"However, as you would expect in an ambitious, complex and multi-stakeholder project, not everyone is in full agreement on the way forward, including the matter of promotion and relegation, but we will continue to engage and consult".

"The proposed business model covers both media and marketing rights but does not include any sale of equity in the competition and therefore full control of the competition and its revenue redistribution model would be retained by the unions, the current major competitions and World Rugby".

England captain Owen Farrell and Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton are among the game's biggest names to have warned of serious player welfare and integrity concerns over World Rugby's proposed new competition structure. "Only by keeping the best interests of the global game at heart will we be able to achieve something truly impactful for the future success and sustainability of the game".

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