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Autumn schedule to be agreed by end of June but longer-term agreement elusive

作者:admin 2020-06-26

The shape of this autumn’s international rugby programme will be confirmed by the end of this month but negotiations about a new global fixture calendar remain ongoing.

Barring a significant second wave of Covid-19 infections, the 2020 Six Nations should now be completed in October and November but clubs and unions have yet to reach agreement on exactly what the longer-term future will look like.

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Officials representing unions, clubs and players have agreed to talk again with World Rugby keen to combine the two current Test windows into one block in October and November.

While the Six Nations has indicated it would be prepared for its showpiece championship to take place a month later in the year in March and April, World Rugby admitted that “frank views” had been exchanged by various stakeholders at a online forum on Monday.

The English and French clubs are particularly resistant to having their leagues shunted into less convenient time slots or being forced to shorten their current lengthy seasons. One senior northern hemisphere official suggested there was “a lot of talking still to do” before any future schedule is set in stone.

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It comes as many Premiership clubs scramble to exploit a loophole in the agreement last week to reduce the league’s salary cap from next summer.

Top players are being offered new long-term deals if they sign before Thursday when the new salary cap regulations come into force. By doing so, richer clubs will effectively avoid having to cut the wages of their leading names because only 75% of the value of pre-existing contracts have to be included in the cap from the 2021-22 season onwards. At least five other cash-strapped clubs, in contrast, are lobbying for temporary 25% salary cuts to be made permanent.

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