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NIGEL MELVILLE

Nigel Melville, acting CEO of the English RFU, called World Rugby's Nations Championship of a twelve team northern and southern hemisphere championship "catastrophic," as long as it insists on relegation and promotion. A new RFU assessment - admittedly conjecture - posits the possible sale of Twickenham should, one day, England be forced out by relegation and eliminated from the Nations Championship.

The time out of the league would be two-years (and not one potentially) during which England would not play any of the traditional other Six Nations' sides or Tests against the Rugby Championship fifteens. Who in the country that birthed the sport would buy tickets to see a relegated (and humiliated) England play for two years, hypothetically, six contests at home (out of eleven matches) against the USA, Romania, Portugal, Zimbabwe, Uruguay, and Germany? The answer is nobody. 

No attendance means mediocre or no revenues. And scant broadcast monies from British television with less interest from global sponsors. That equals catastrophe.

The Six Nations unions have received newly funded deals from both CVC Capital, a financial firm, and also IMG, the sports rights agency. Each has proffered billions of pounds for substantial equity in the annual Six Nations event.  One outcome to either of these two arrangements might be a pay TV model for British viewers.

World Rugby offered its own proposal coming from the Chinese-based global marketing agency Infront. It is willing to promise £5 billion ($6.6 billion) for broadcast and sponsorship rights to fund the newly formed World Rugby League.

In this dueling battle for control of the sport, money is the weapon.

One fact is clear, the profitable Six Nations can exist as is without entering into a new league that one day - for any of the six nations - could result in disappearance from the world's rugby stage. The American author, John Dos Passes, said it succinctly in his novel The Great Days, "It's the wrong choice, the slip 'o the will that opens the door to disaster."