After months, even years, of procrastination, the idea of a competition pitting the best clubs from both hemispheres against each other is on the way to becoming a reality by 2025 according to the British press.
38 years after the national selections, the clubs could be entitled to their World Cup. A project that has long looked like an Arlesian as the obstacles are numerous, a competition that sees the best clubs in the Northern Hemisphere and those representing the Southern Hemisphere compete against each other could materialize as early as 2025 with a tournament organized in Europe. According to information from the British daily Daily Telegraph, the discussions that could lead to the creation of this Club World Cup are “in the final stretch” with formal formalization expected in the course of next September. This new competition would be organized every four years ahead of the British and Irish Lions tour and bring together sixteen teams. Eight of them will come directly from the Champions Cup, seven others will come from Super Rugby and the last will be Japanese.
🏉 Exclusive: The blueprint for a new ‘Club World Cup’ is understood to have been agreed with a tournament involving the top 16 sides from the northern and southern hemispheres scheduled to start in 2025 | @GavinMairs 👇 https://t.co/5Khqjqc8L5
— Telegraph Rugby (@TelegraphRugby) July 20, 2022
The Champions Cup as a stepping stone to the World Cup
As for European and South African teams taking part in EPCR competitions, the final phase of the Champions Cup would disappear every four years to make way for the World Cup. The goal is not to overload a schedule that is already reaching its limits at the moment. What is currently the group stage of the most prestigious European competition, now open to teams from South Africa, would become a qualifying stage for the World Cup, for which only sporting merit will be taken into account. Proponents of the project have ruled out any desire to impose quotas for Top 14, Premiership and United Rugby Championship teams. The establishment of the final phase of the Club World Cup will require certain adjustments to the domestic calendars, with in particular the finals of the championships brought forward in May.