Premiership - Rugby season could move to summer

Sun, 11 Dec 08:20:00 2011

Rugby union authorities in England and France are considering a radical change which would see the club season moved to the summer.

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Former England rugby union star Paul Ackford writes in the Sunday Telegraph that a consortium of major clubs on both sides of the channel have discussed the move, which would see both the Premiership and Top 14 begin in March and conclude in November.

Clubs are reportedly weary of the constant disruptions to their seasons caused by players going off for international duty. With the Six Nations and regular autumn internationals, top players usually miss several months of club rugby

"It was an idea which received support," a Premiership club chairman told the paper.

"The clubs stated that they never wanted to play important domestic fixtures during a World Cup again because, without their star performers, it was too damaging in terms of results and attendances.

"Some went further than that and included the Six Nations as a concern. Summer rugby was seen as a possible solution to the problem."

Mark McCafferty, chief executive of Premier Rugby - the association that represents England's top flight clubs - confirmed that the move was under consideration, but added that a switch to the summer would bring its own problems.

"It opens up the possibility of the better weather, a different type of rugby and the ability to expand the crowds. But we need everybody to participate in the debate because you’ve got the June internationals and Lions tours which occur in that period," he said.

"These things do take several years in their gestation, but there will come a point when an opportunity presents itself and you’ve got to be ready for that.”


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