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Gosper: 'No Pacific shut out'

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World Rugby CEO's new Tweet the latest twist in the World League controversy

As the controversy around the proposed World League rumbles on, World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper has taken to Twitter to debunk one of the major inaccuracies in the reporting of the story.

It has been widely reported that a freeze out of the Pacific Islands is one of the ideas currently on the table.

The New Zealand Herald reported that a 12-team World League – where teams from the Rugby Championship and Six Nations will be joined by the United States and Japan – is set to go ahead after leading nations came to an agreement.

An unknown broadcaster has also offered to back the concept in a deal that will provide up to NZ$14m for each nation every season.

Rumours of the proposal have been floating around for several months and there is thought to be some urgency to sign off on the concept with plans to launch by 2020.

The controversy has even led Dan Leo, the former Samoa lock and current player welfare manager for Pacific players based in Europe, to call on a boycott of the World Cup in Japan by Tonga, Fiji and Samoa.

Embattled World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper has now hit back at reports, saying that the final two places have not been decided and that a relegation system is being championed by World Rugby itself.

‘Avalanche of media on World League in last 24hrs. Many inaccuracies. World Rugby has pushed for relegation/promotion which is not universally supported,” Gosper tweeted. “The 2 extra tier 2 teams funded to enter the Rugby Championship will be selected on merit – so no Pacific shut out!”

Gosper’s words echo that of World Rugby Vice-president Augustin Pichot, who has also said relegation was key.

The leak has been a giant PR disaster for World Rugby.

On Thursday Senior players from around the globe – including Jonny Sexton, Owen Farrell and Kieran Read – were united in voicing their concern about the proposed format, largely to do with player welfare.

By Friday, many were calling for a Pacific Island boycott of the Rugby World Cup.

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World Rugby CEO's new Tweet the latest twist in the World League controversy