The outgoing boss of European rugby has confirmed that a rugby Club World Cup could be staged every four years.
European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) chairman Simon Halliday, who is leaving the role after serving two terms in post, said that plans for a global tournament are being actively “worked towards”.
The competition would replace the latter stages of the Champions Cup to avoid an increase in the number of games played in an already bloated rugby calendar.
Discussions took place in 2020 regarding the introduction of such a tournament at the time of the potential restructuring of men’s rugby’s global calendar.
Proposals then called for the quarter-finalists of the Champions Cup to play the top eight from southern hemisphere’s Super Rugby in a 16-team tournament.
However the South African Super Rugby franchises have since joined the United Rugby Championship (URC), the revamped Pro 14, with admittance to the Champions and Challenge Cup via the competition likely from next season.
Super Rugby, meanwhile, has become a 12-team competition with the addition of the Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika franchises to the five Australian and five New Zealand sides ahead of the 2022 season.
Former England captain Halliday believes EPCR are in a good place moving forward.
“EPCR has signed a new eight-year agreement which I believe is a triumph of negotiation and shared objectives between the leagues and unions of Europe. This will guarantee the long-term future of both the Heineken Champions Cup and the EPCR Challenge Cup,” said Halliday in his farewell statement after six-and-a-half years.
“From this new agreement, we are now working on the participation of the South African provinces and building towards a Club World Cup every four years which would replace the latter stages of the Heineken Champions Cup.
“Together with our improved formats, reduced pool matches, and more knockout rugby, EPCR is in a great position to grow. Our newly formed board is superbly well-equipped and structured to deliver on this growth and I wish them every success.”
EPCR are now seeking a new chairman and chief executive.
Vincent Gaillard announced his departure the latter role in July after working closely alongside Halliday for six years.
Anthony Lepage, who has been the organisation’s administration and finance director since 2014, has been appointed to the role in the interim while EPCR begin a recruitment process to fill both vacancies.