The RFU has been urged to back a radical plan to host a Rugby World Cup-style tournament in the United Kingdom and Ireland in 2021 which could raise up to £250 million to ease the financial crisis on unions according to a report by Stuff.co.nz.
According to the report a proposal for a 16-team invitational tournament, to be held in June and July next year, has been submitted to World Rugby and the RFU, with a working title of the Coronavirus Cup of World Rugby.
The 31-match tournament could raise up to £250-million to ease the financial crisis facing the game but if it did take place, the British and Irish Lions tour would be moved to July-August 2022.
The plan, drawn up by Francis Baron, the former RFU chief executive, is based on the 2015 World Cup in England, but would involve playing matches at the national stadiums of each of the four home unions.
The tournament, involving 31 matches over six weeks, would mean the postponement of the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa from July next year to the summer of 2022 to minimise the disruption to domestic tournaments in the northern and southern hemispheres.
Francis Baron, the former RFU CEO who has drawn up the plan, said it was necessary to take 'exceptional measures to deal with an exceptional crisis'.
He added: 'The key will be winning the support of the southern hemisphere unions but, with everyone facing horrendous financial challenges, this is a bold and ambitious plan to raise large amounts of new cash from which they will be major beneficiaries.
'The 2015 World Cup generated net profits for the game of around £400-million. I believe this could -generate a net profit for distribution to unions of £200- to £250-million.
'This would be in addition to the £80-million World Rugby support funding package already in place.'