London – Rugby world chiefs have called for “comprehensive consultations” following the kick-off of the new short-form international rugby union competition to be held on Tuesday.
The ‘World 12 People’ event, backed by a UK-based financial consortium and not yet backed by any federation, aims to pit top players top of the world against each other in the format of 12v12 in 30 minutes of matches.
Organizers are aiming to kick off the inaugural men’s tournament in the UK in August 2022, with the first women’s event taking place a year later.
They hope £250 million ($345 million) will be generated by the competition over five years, while also attracting new fans to the sport.
The plan is that 192 of the world’s best male players from Tier 1 and 2 countries will be selected through auction to represent eight brands comprising 24 players from each country.
World 12s President Ian Ritchie described the concept as “a natural evolution for rugby union.”
Ritchie, the former chief executive of the British Rugby League, is joined on the board of directors by former New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew and former Welsh Rugby League president Gareth Davies.
“We feel that this is a game for a fast-paced, changing world that can excite the global fan base in a way that we have seen with IPL (Indian Premier League) or more recently. especially The Hundred in cricket,” added Ritchie.
However, the sport’s governing body World Rugby has responded to the plan by questioning how it would fit in the new global rugby calendar, which is currently being drafted.
A World Rugby spokesperson said: “We are aware of the proposed new world 12 year old competition.
“While we welcome innovative thinking with the potential to boost the sport’s reach, appeal and growth, comprehensive consultation with organizers is needed to understand the nature of the sport. feasibility of this concept, especially in light of the ongoing global calendar discussions and the priority area of player welfare. “
The new event may find it difficult to get clubs in European leagues to allow their players to participate during times when they normally go on vacation or during pre-season.
“We learned about the project to create a new 12-man tournament on Monday,” a statement from English Premiership said.
“We believe that any proposed new competition will require extensive consultation. It can only be viewed in the broader context of player welfare and the already congested global calendar. “
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