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McCafferty backs season proposals

Moving the northern hemisphere season back by a month could pave the way for a new world club championship, according to Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty.

The proposal for the domestic season to run from October to June, with summer tours being held in July, has been tabled by the International Rugby Players' Association (IRPA). Premiership Rugby is on board with the idea, which would align the end of the club seasons in both hemispheres and open the opportunity to introduce new competitions.

"I applaud the players' association for putting it on the table and we feel there should be some urgent discussions. This is a unique opportunity to get some alignment between the north and the south," McCafferty told Press Association Sport.

"It would mean we have an alignment with the end of the Super Rugby season and that might create some opportunities as well. If that (a World Cup Championship) was on the table, and it is one of the possibilities that would open up, you could look at doing that in the closing weeks of the season in June."

The IRPA is meeting the International Rugby Board this week to discuss their proposal for a more integrated global season, which has been tabled now with the intention of being introduced in 2015-16 season when the new southern hemisphere television contracts kick in.

Although the move would allow SANZAR to complete their Super Rugby season before the summer Tests begin, McCafferty believes there are benefits to the northern hemisphere game.

"A number of the clubs over the years have expressed commercial difficulties with the early weeks of September so a move by a few weeks would assist them," McCafferty said. "For broadcasters such as BT Sport, to have more of our products in June is a real advantage because the domestic football season has finished.

"It seems to be one of those times where things are falling into place. From 2015, Wimbledon is moving to the first two weeks of July. The first Ashes Test is only starting now. The Open golf doesn't start until next week.

"We would be playing more rugby in better weather and that is an attraction for us. Everyone knows the competition is probably at its strongest post the Six Nations. The other big plus for us is that if it was brought in in 2016 it would alleviate some of the pressure of the Rugby World Cup season.

"That will create an awful lot of pressure in the English league, the RaboDirect and the Top 14. There will be a lot of midweek games and overlaps for internationals. If the June window is moved to July it would relieve that pressure. That is a big plus for northern hemisphere leagues and why we should take a serious look at it, while there is an opportunity."

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