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Tew: World League gaining steam

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Steve Tew: World League gaining steam

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew has revealed the ambitious World League concept could be presented to broadcasters and sponsors early next year.

World Rugby vice-chairman Agustin Pichot’s brainchild would see the world’s 12 best nations face off in reformatted June and November test windows.

The concept was presented to national chief executives at a World Rugby meeting in Dublin last week.

“We’ve agreed the concept has enough promise to keep going,” Tew told NZME.

“We’ve always said we’d like the calendar to be better utilised in terms of value, and, so, if there is a concept we think can work, and it does increase value for everybody and ticks some other important boxes like bringing tier two countries into the mix more often, then we’re supportive of that.

“At this stage it looks like it can do that but there’s still work to do.”

Tew also said a promotion/relegation system could be introduced at some stage, after Pichot’s initial idea appeared to freeze out second-tier nations.

“We’ve got that on our radar. There needs to be an opportunity for the developing countries to become mainstream at some point in time when they’re good enough.”

The proposed tournament presents an opportunity for increased revenue according to Tew.

“If we use the window better can we generate more revenue than we do now. Then you can discuss how you divvy up the incremental revenue rather than attack the existing model because that’s not on the table.

“There’s a whole series of things. At the moment over 50 per cent of the internationals that are played each year are without any meaning other than ranking and your own pride.

“Clearly there’s a big bunch of undervalued games that if you could put more meaning into those, logic would suggest they would be more valuable when you go to sell them for broadcasting, sponsorship, fans, the lot.”

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Steve Tew: World League gaining steam