Premiership Rugby today welcomed the announcement from World Rugby on the calendar for the game post-2019.
The agreement includes the introduction of a number of changes proposed by Premiership Rugby to our season.
• From 2020 the Premiership Final will be at the end of June
• Substantial reduction in overlaps between Premiership Rugby and Test rugby through the season
• Expansion of our Cup competition, during international periods
• More Premiership Rugby after the Six Nations
And to confirm:
• The 2019-20 season will still start at the beginning of September, as now
Premiership Rugby Chief Executive, Mark McCafferty said:
“Firstly this announcement gives us the framework to significantly reduce or eliminate overlaps between the international and club game and secondly extending the club season into June gives us more club rugby post-Six Nations. This is the strongest part of our season when the weather is better, the grounds are firmer and the clubs are at the business end of the campaign, with trophies to be won.
“From the perspective of our fans this announcement is very good news. Clubs won’t be missing important players for significant chunks of the season and they have got the second half of Premiership Rugby in even better weather.
“We have all worked hard on this for several years and the significant breakthrough came in January at a meeting of key stakeholders in San Francisco. It proved that if you get the right people in the room, they will find solutions. It’s a great example of how the game can work together and accelerate its growth for everyone. Although this agreement is a great framework there is detail now to be finalised, to ensure it is a success and we are well underway with that.
Player welfare is a priority and McCafferty added: “Just because we are removing Premiership Rugby fixtures from the international period and extending the club season doesn’t automatically mean the players will play more games. We will become more sophisticated in our individual management of the players.
“But in the future rather than having players missing en masse we can manage that through the season in a way that is good for them, their club and for our competition.
“The 32-match limit for a player will remain. In our own domestic agreement with the RFU we already have rest weekends built in for the international players. We’ve taken huge steps forward on that area and those things will develop and become even more tailored in the future.
“All through this process we have worked very closely with the RFU, a real collaboration to get the best system in place for 2019-20 onwards.”