Plans for a global season in 'embryo stage' for re-elected World Rugby chief Bill Beaumont

Bill Beaumont admitted to facing a challenge from various leagues, unions and domestic sides based in Europe. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - Newly re-elected World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said on Sunday (May 3) that plans for a global season are in the early phases of discussion.

Former England captain Beaumont, 68, who beat ex-Argentina skipper Agustin Pichot to the position last weekend, said the coronavirus pandemic had encouraged the idea about northern and southern hemisphere campaigns aligning.

Reports in Britain's The Rugby Paper claim European sides and teams from countries such as World Cup winners South Africa could play at the same time of the year.

"These are very much in the embryo stage at the moment. People are talking because what has stimulated the debate is the position regarding this year," Beaumont said.

"The north go south in one month then immediately afterwards the sides would go north. We have to bear in mind that we have to take all stakeholders with us."

Beaumont admitted to facing a challenge from various leagues, unions and domestic sides based in Europe.

"In the north, we have to take the club game with you, we have to take the European game with us. We are in dialogue with all the stakeholders," he said. "It's more problems in certain areas when you have more stakeholders."

The prospect of a united season includes a global Nations Championship competition, which was scrapped in June as the Six Nations were worried about potential relegation from the top level of the game.

Beaumont said the new tournament would have multiple layers, allowing sides to move between the competitions.

"My job is hopefully to get consensus from everybody in the game. I do think there is an appetite from the Six Nations to look at the Nations Championship," Beaumont said.

"Within that, you could have competitions with all the countries who play in those windows and sitting below that you would have a subsidiary competitions for the emerging nations so they could play at the same time in another competition.

"You could well have promotion and relegation into that."

In his first press conference since his re-election, Beaumont said he would like to change eligibility rules to permit individuals to represent different nations despite having already featured for another.

"It would allow players who might have played in a sevens tournament, they might have played an odd game for a Tier 1 nation, to go back," the former lock said.

"I think it gives an opportunity to help certain countries who are limited in their player resource.

"It has to be signed off by the council and both unions but it would improve the competitiveness of a Rugby World Cup without a doubt."

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