World Rugby has proposed the introduction of a temporary international window before the end of 2020, a move that would allow this year’s Six Nations to be completed.
The governing body’s executive committee is keen for international fixtures to be staged again to aid the sport as it tries to deal with the off-field impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Having held discussions with all international and club competitions, as well as players and national unions, World Rugby wants a window that will start in late October and run into December.
The revised calendar would allow for the 2020 Six Nations tournament – suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak in March – to stage the final four fixtures still outstanding, followed by Test matches in Europe organised by the individual unions.
As for the Rugby Championship, the 2020 edition would take place in one country over a six-week period spanning November 7 to December 12.
“Recognising the importance of a balanced and shared compromise among all stakeholders, a temporary international window between October 24 and December 5 has been recommended,” said a statement from World Rugby.
“In the north, this window will accommodate the postponed men’s and women’s Six Nations matches at the end of October, a rest weekend on November 7 and a programme of international matches involving the Six Nations and invited teams hosted in Europe from November 14 through to December 5.”
With the Rugby Championship, “special” measures would be put in place to cope with travel restrictions, while the changes to the schedule allows leading players to be available for their clubs.
“With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to impact international travel and borders across southern hemisphere unions, on an exceptional basis the Rugby Championship 2020 will be hosted in full in a single country over a reduced six-week period between November 7 and December 12,” the statement continued.
“Special measures will be implemented to deal with any government-required quarantine period prior to the start of the competition.
“The rescheduling of the domestic, European and international calendars will accommodate the ability for the professional clubs to have access to their star southern hemisphere international players for the completion of the postponed and rescheduled 2019-20 seasons at a time in which they would have ordinarily been on international duty in August and September.”
The recommendations will need to receive approval at next week’s meeting of the World Rugby Council.
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