RFU says clubs are being consulted over revamped season

Bill Beaumont (PA)
Bill Beaumont (PA)

English rugby chiefs insisted on Tuesday clubs will be involved in talks over reshaping the season after Premiership Rugby and the French league voiced concerns their interests could be sidelined in favour of the international game.

In a joint letter sent to World Rugby on Monday, league bosses in England and France said it was "essential" they were consulted over potential changes in Test dates.

Responding to the letter, a Rugby Football Union (RFU) spokeswoman said on Tuesday the body had "proactively consulted with the PRL (Premiership Rugby Limited)".

"We will continue to seek PRL updates and involvement regarding the completion options of the Premiership season as well as the calendar for future seasons," she added.

"The discussions will always be centred around player welfare."

In their letter, seen by AFP, French league president Paul Goze and Premiership counterpart Darren Childs said professional domestic tournaments and European competitions should not be sacrificed to accommodate Tests.

Goze and Childs said their two bodies had asked World Rugby on several occasions to be part of the calendar-making process, but to no avail.

Recently re-elected World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont faces a headache in trying to please all parties.

The coronavirus pandemic froze the Six Nations, with the final round of matches still to be played, while international tours later this year are under severe threat due to COVID-19.

Many federations have asked for an extended international window in the northern hemisphere autumn, even though organisers of European club competitions are still hoping to hold this season's knockout matches in October.

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