Paris (AFP)

Bill Beaumont, re-elected Saturday to head the International Rugby Federation, said Sunday that plans to set up a unified world season are in the early stages of discussion.

The world rugby boss, who defeated former Argentine captain Agustin Pichot, said at his first press conference after his reelection as head of World Rugby that the pandemic of new coronavirus had encouraged the idea of ​​an alignment seasons between the northern and southern hemispheres.

According to the British newspaper The Rugby Paper, European clubs and clubs from countries like South Africa, winner of the World Cup, could now play at the same time of the year.

These discussions "are still in their infancy for now," said Beaumont.

"We have to keep in mind that we have to bring all the stakeholders with us," added the former England team captain.

"There are more problems in certain areas when you have more stakeholders," warned Beaumont.

A united season would include the establishment of a world championship competition, a project abandoned last June by World Rugby, because the Six Nations Tournament feared a depreciation of its own competition.

- 7 billion over 12 years -

This new Nations Championship, with an endowment of seven billion euros over twelve years, was to bring together the best teams from each hemisphere three years out of four, that is to say all the years without the World Cup.

According to Beaumont, the new tournament will have several levels, which will allow teams to move from one competition to another.

"My job is to reach a consensus of all participants. I think the Six Nations would want to consider the Nations Championship," said Mr. Beaumont.

"You could have competitions with all the countries playing in these windows and below, you would have subsidiary competitions for the emerging nations so that they can play at the same time in another competition," he summed up.

"You may well be promoted and relegated in this area," he also said.

Mr. Beaumont has also declared that he wishes to modify the eligibility rules to allow players to represent different nations, even if they had already participated in another competition in another jersey.

"I think this gives an opportunity to help some countries that are limited in their player resources," said the former second line, with particular reference to the Pacific nations.

The change "would undoubtedly improve the competitiveness of a Rugby World Cup," he said.

© 2020 AFP