World Rugby cans Nations Championship concept

World Rugby has reluctantly discontinued their plans for a Nations Championship after the required unanimous agreement by unions to enter into exclusive negotiations was not achieved by Wednesday’s deadline.

The timing and format of promotion and relegation was cited as a key issue on which consensus could not be formed, and World Rugby said they were left with no alternative but to discontinue the project.

In March, the B.B.C. reported that the Irish and Scottish unions were especially opposed to the idea teams could be relegated out of the Six Nations.

World Rugby said a core objective of the Nations Championship was to provide for the first time a meaningful competition pathway for all emerging nations, including Samoa, as well as to secure a strong and sustainable financial and competition model for unions.

That financial model had the backing of sports marketing agency Infront Sports & Media, who guaranteed $20.5 billion tala over 12 years to the Nations Championship concept.

World Rugby said they did their best to provide solutions to concerns about the format of the Nations Championship's second division, the financial package for relegated teams and key player welfare considerations in consultations with unions and stakeholders.

"World Rugby undertook this important project with the best interests of the global game at heart in line with our vision to grow the sport as a game for all," said World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont.

"While we are naturally disappointed that a unanimous position on the Nations Championship could not be achieved among our unions, we remain fully committed to exploring alternative ways to enhance the meaning, value and opportunity of international rugby for the betterment of all unions.

"This includes our continued commitment to competition and investment opportunities for emerging nations to increase the competitiveness of the international game with a view to possible Rugby World Cup expansion in 2027."

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