New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew confirmed that discussions are underway to create a global rugby calendar with a dedicated window for international fixtures.
Tew said that New Zealand Rugby is committed to pressing forward with a global calendar by 2020.
“We are in active discussions with our northern colleagues about how the calendar will look,” he told allblacks.com
“We sent some revised thinking to them this week and will have the opportunity to bring the issue to a head when we meet for World Rugby Committee meetings in Argentina this September.”
Tew said it is inevitable there will be some compromise involved in the creation of a global calendar but believes a suitable outcome will be reached for everyone.
“In reality the north can’t do without the south at the international level and vice-versa,” he added.
“If we can’t get an agreement that is satisfactory then we will certainly talk about playing among our southern hemisphere colleagues a bit more and negotiate one or two Test matches on the side. If that was the case then ultimately there would be no window for a Lions series or a World Cup.
“No one wants that kind of chaos and I am 99 percent sure we would not get to that point.”
Tew said it was vital that the four yearly Lions series was included in any global calendar.
“We want to make sure the Lions series survives in whatever new calendar we have,” he explained.
“We will have to make some adjustments but believe that the Lions series is such a worthwhile part of our game that we can make some adjustments.”
As for a timeframe for the introduction of a global calendar, Tew belives it would not happen before 2020 due to commercial and broadcast agreements.
“We are only really talking about one more year of this kind of structure because we have the Lions series next year and Rugby World Cup in 2019,” he said.
“In the middle of that France is here for three Tests in 2018.”