World Rugby has abandoned plans to introduce a Nations Championship.

There were hopes the global competition could be up and running by 2022.

The governing body has announced it will discontinue plans for the Nations Championship after the required unanimous agreement by unions to enter into exclusive negotiations was not achieved by today’s deadline.

In a statement World Rugby said it was left with “no alternative but to discontinue the project”.

“The core objective of the Nations Championship was to secure a strong and sustainable financial and competition model for unions, provide for the first time a meaningful competition pathway for all emerging nations, further inject excitement into the international game for fans and broadcasters and develop new markets for the betterment of all.

“Throughout extensive consultation with unions and the international game’s major stakeholders, World Rugby has demonstrated flexibility and made every effort to provide solutions and reassurance on key areas including the format of the second division, the financial package for relegated teams and key player welfare considerations.”

World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said World Rugby undertook the project with the best interests of the global game at heart in line

“While we are naturally disappointed that a unanimous position on the Nations Championship could not be achieved among our unions, we remain fully committed to exploring alternative ways to enhance the meaning, value and opportunity of international rugby for the betterment of all unions.

“This includes our continued commitment to competition and investment opportunities for emerging nations to increase the competitiveness of the international game with a view to possible Rugby World Cup expansion in 2027.”

The Nations Championship was scheduled to begin in 2022 and would have been made up of a top division of 12 teams from northern and southern hemispheres facing each other once over the course of a calendar year.

The fixtures would have taken place in traditional competitions like the Six Nations and Rugby Championship, as well as during summer and autumn test windows, with the top two teams meeting in the final at the end of the year.

However, the issue of promotion and relegation proved to be a sticking point, with Scotland and Ireland expressing doubt over the sustainability of the second division.

World Rugby said it had made every effort to provide solutions and reassurance on key areas.

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