French rugby boss wants to replace European Cup with global competition

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Paris (AFP)

The president of the French Rugby Federation Bernard Laporte wants World Rugby to create a club world cup to replace the European Champions Cup, he said in an interview published Monday.

"Let's be frank: it does not generate enough income," Laporte told French rugby newspaper Midi Olympique.

World Rugby, the global governing body, is due to hold elections on May 13 and Laporte is running for the vice-presidency.

"World Rugby must create a world cup for professional clubs that would take place every year, outside the traditional Rugby World Cup windows," Laporte said.

He said the format would duplicate existing tournaments.

"We can take as a basis for our work what currently exists at World Cup level: 20 teams divided into four pools of five and a final phase with quarter-final, semi-final and final matches," Laporte said. "The whole thing would have to be condensed into six weeks."

Laporte said he "can well imagine seeing the semi-finalists of the Top 14, those of the English championship, the top six in Super Rugby, the top four in the Celtic League, the Japanese champion and the US champion, for example, qualifying."

"We have to create this competition and very quickly. It could be a breath of fresh air for the whole of world rugby," said Laporte.

Laporte, who coached Toulon to three Champions Cup titles said the competition "would have to disappear, that's for sure, if we don't want to overload the calendar a bit more."

"This European competition is magnificent, with Toulon I've been able to lift the trophy three times and I know what it can represent," he said, before bemoaning its financial limitations.

"Without the Champions Cup, nine weekends will become available."

The newspaper calculated that such a competition could bring in between 300 and 500 million euros per year.