World Rugby considering World Cup every two years – “An interesting concept”
The Rugby World Cup could become a more common occasion after one of the sport’s figureheads described the possibility of hosting the tournament every two years as “an interesting concept.”
Like its football equivalent, the Rugby World Cup currently—which was first held in 1987—adheres to a four-year cycle, with the next edition to be staged in France in 2023.
FIFA—world football’s governing body—has undertaken a study to assess the feasibility of breaking tradition to hold its World Cup every two years.
And World Rugby chief executive Alan Gilpin has suggested the oval-ball sport could make the same move despite admitting the current calendar is tightly packed as it is.
"Biennial World Cups have been considered before and they're definitely something that we will continue to consider,” Gilpin told The Telegraph.
"It's an interesting concept, especially when you think about the global development of the women's game too.
"But the men's calendar is very congested and complex, with a lot of different stakeholders, and we have to make sure we engage with them all before we consider a World Cup every two years.”
Those comments came after Gilpin met for a Paris summit alongside World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont and France 2023 director general Claude Atcher this past week.
Would you support plans to stage the Rugby World Cup every two years? Let us know in the comments section.
Many mainstream sports are under pressure to secure revenue after the coronavirus pandemic put a temporary halt on competition for much of 2020.
Many professional campaigns had to be concluded early as a result of Covid-19, which also forced sponsors to reassess their contributions in many instances.
Rumours of a biennial football World Cup have been met by a largely negative response, with many supporters suggesting the rarity of the spectacle is what drives so much interest.
Twenty teams have competed at the Rugby World Cup since 1999, with South Africa emerging as champions when they beat England in the 2019 final in Japan.
A two-year cycle could be a poisoned chalice for smaller nations, who might benefit from added exposure and revenue share but may struggle to keep up with an even busier schedule.
Many players from the Pacific Nations, for example, are already forced to choose between club and country around the international windows, with fewer funds available to Tier Two countries.
That’s without taking into account the newly proposed World 12s competition, which already has a list of obstacles that may prevent it from joining the annual rugby calendar.
Australia and Russia are the current frontrunners who have submitted bids to stage the 2027 Rugby World Cup after Argentina withdrew their host bid in April 2020.
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