Beaumont calls meeting amid controversial World League plans

LONDON — World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont has called a meeting to discuss the future of the international game amid controversy over plans for a World League.

Representatives from all the major countries, along with Fiji, Japan and the players' union, are to gather in Dublin later this month.

"In light of continued speculation and commentary, I am convening a meeting ... to consider the way forward for an annual international competition," former England captain Beaumont said in a statement on Sunday. "Contrary to reports, no decisions have been made. This is an ongoing and complex process with multiple stakeholders, some with differing views.

"Only by working together in the interests of the global game can we achieve something truly impactful in this important area for rugby's future global growth. I look forward to a constructive debate with my colleagues and productive outcomes."

Current England captain Owen Farrell and Ireland flyhalf Johnny Sexton are among the biggest names to have warned of serious player welfare and integrity concerns over World Rugby's proposed new competition structure.

A new global season is due to kick off next year, running until 2032, while discussions have also taken place about a new World League that would combine 12 international sides from both hemispheres.

Top Pacific Islands stars are due to vote on whether to boycott the 2019 World Cup over the World League plans. According to media reports, World Rugby is ready to omit Pacific Island nations Samoa, Tonga and Fiji from its new competition.

The Six Nations teams and Rugby Championship nations would be joined by Japan and the USA under World Rugby's latest plans. Promotion and relegation has been mooted to hand tier-two nations like the Pacific Islands and Georgia the chance to step up, but the competition could also be ring-fenced for 12 years at a time.

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