Brett Gosper, the chief executive of World Rugby, says the game’s governing body are considering the potential for a new, franchise-based sevens series.
The Australian administrator said any new league would complement the existing HSBC World Sevens Series, rather than replace it. He believes there is scope for a secondary competition to the current circuit, which is a 10-leg competition, that kicked off in Dubai.
However, he has played down the similarities between the proposed franchise competition and cricket’s lucrative Indian Premier League.
“Whenever anyone says an ‘IPL-type’ of anything, it conjures up images of huge success, huge crowds, vast sums of money,” Gosper said.
“In this case, we have had a couple of conversations about the potential to complement, and to underpin in many ways, the HSBC Sevens Series, which is and will remain the pinnacle of the annual sport.
“Is there a way that we can complement that by going into some other cities with a different product, but supplementing the economics and salaries of the players on a short period of time, providing more excitement in the sport?
“We are examining that. We are not a long way down the road in those conversations. We have to consult with all of the unions who are providing these players to make sure this is in the players’ interests from a welfare point of view.”
The idea had been discussed piloting the new series as early as this season. That was deemed unfeasible because there are already two major international tournaments scheduled, independent of the World Series.
South Africa will defend their title at the Commonwealth Games in Australia in April, while New Zealand will do the same in the World Cup Sevens in San Francisco in July.
“Maybe beyond that, this is something that could happen, depending on where the investors decide they want to put their money, because the investment would come from third-party, not from World Rugby,” Gosper said.
“We may contribute, we may not, but it would be third-party money, which increasingly is helping grow the sport around the world.”
Story via thenational.ae