World Rugby has ruled out the possibility of holding an international invitational tournament in the United Kingdom and Ireland in 2021 to provide relief following the coronavirus pandemic.
Former Rugby Football Union chief executive Francis Baron had proposed the one-off 16-team competition to raise money “for keeping the game of rugby alive around the world”, with sport suspended in recent months due to the global crisis.
The event, held in the UK in order to avoid disrupting France’s 2023 Rugby World Cup preparations, would see 31 matches across June and July and prompt the postponement of the British and Irish Lions’ tour of South Africa.
The suggested tournament – dubbed the ‘Coronavirus Cup of World Rugby’ as Baron revealed his plan to the Telegraph – would reportedly aim to bring in up to £250million to support the sport as it recovers from the pandemic.
However, the idea has been dismissed by governing body World Rugby.
A statement read: “World Rugby notes a proposal by former RFU CEO Francis Baron suggesting the organisation of a major international rugby event in the UK in 2021 to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on global rugby.
“World Rugby does not intend to pursue such a proposal.
“All stakeholders continue to progress productive discussions regarding the immediate global COVID-19 financial relief strategy and international rugby calendar optimisation, both of which will further the success of Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.”
World Rugby has already postponed all July Tests and set aside a $100million relief fund in a bid to assist those struggling the most.
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