United Rugby Championship CEO Martin Anayi has confirmed that the league is interested in helping form a Club Rugby World Cup.
Momentum for a tournament featuring the best clubs from around the world every four years looks to be growing, after departing EPCR chairperson Simon Halliday explained that the organisation are hoping to stage a Club Rugby World Cup for the first time in 2024.
The tournament would replace the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals every four years, in which the top eight sides from the Champions Cup would face the top eight sides from Super Rugby.
Anayi, whose league has already brought together some of the best teams from the northern and southern hemispheres, confirmed on The Rugby Pod that teams from the URC, as well as from New Zealand and Australia are interested in the competition.
Martin Anayi on plans for a Club Rugby World Cup.
“NZR and the franchises in New Zealand are really up for it and the same in Rugby Australia. Rugby has got a slightly novel opportunity with it that football doesn’t have because all the best teams are in Europe anyway in football but who knows in rugby,” Anayi explained.
“The Crusaders are probably up there, the Brumbies are probably still up there, the Reds are probably coming back into it and then in two cycles time have we done enough to help Japan come in, have we done enough that an American team could be there?
“One thing I am really interested in working on is how do we as club leagues really help the MLR, really help the South American league, help the Japanese league work with Super Rugby and the thing that can bind us all together in a really powerful quadrennial form is a Club World Cup.
“We are pushing for 2024 because it is the year after the World Cup and before Lions tour.”
Great to hear from @URCOfficial‘s main man @MartinAnayi about the URC’s journey, his vision for the future, the potential for a global club competition, what @RocNationSports are bringing to the table and if Jay Z is playing at the final 👀
— The Rugby Pod (@TheRugbyPod) October 12, 2021
Tournament organisers hope to avoid extra playing weekends.
One of the main arguments that has been brought against the formation of a Club Rugby World Cup is a potential increase in the amount of games played in years that the tournament is run.
The rugby calendar is already quite full as it is, especially in the northern hemisphere, which tournament organisers are wary not to add to.
Anayi has said that they aim to run the tournament over a four or five-week period, which would replace the knock out stages of the Heineken Champions Cup every four years.
Super Rugby tournament organisers are yet to explain how they hope to fit the competition into their calendar, although each team in the premier southern hemisphere tournament is set to play a maximum of just 17 games a year, which should give the clubs room to work with.