Former rugby chief calls for global tournament in UK and Ireland to raise funds for unions

Former Rugby Football Union chief executive Francis Baron believes a ‘Coronavirus Cup of World Rugby’ next summer could significantly ease the economic hardship facing the global game because of the pandemic.

Baron has drawn up an independent financial rescue plan and at its heart is a 16-team invitational tournament to be held in the UK and Ireland next June and July, using the 2015 World Cup hosted by England as a template.

Staging the competition for 31 matches over six weeks would mean postponing the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa, scheduled for next July, but Baron thinks it is a necessary sacrifice which would benefit all unions.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Twickenham hosted the 2015 World Cup final (Andrew Matthews/PA)</figcaption>
Twickenham hosted the 2015 World Cup final (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“The RFU should take a leadership position and propose to other major unions and World Rugby that a special one-off tournament be held in the UK and Ireland in June and July next year,” Baron told Telegraph Sport.

“Its key selling point is that all the money raised would be for keeping the game of rugby alive around the world.

“I have talked to one or two senior colleagues and they all think the country would get right behind it, as they did with the tournament in England in 2015.

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