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Asia

Qatar to bid for rugby’s Nations Championship – report

Lusail Stadium, Doha

Featured image credit: Adnen1985 / CC BY-SA 4.0 / Edited for size

Qatar has reportedly submitted a multi-year bid to host rugby’s proposed Nations Championship featuring the world’s top teams.

Venues such as Lusail Stadium, which hosted the 2022 FIFA World Cup final, are being considered for the project, according to a report in the Daily Mail.

The biennial Nations Championship, which would feature the Six Nations and southern hemisphere powerhouses, is scheduled to debut in 2026. Qatar has bid to stage the first four editions of the event until 2032, envisaging a three-day extravaganza that will be “a Superbowl of rugby”.

Qatar’s tender, the Mail reports, is based on staging six play-off matches between the Six Nations and southern hemisphere sides over one weekend every two years from November 2026 at multiple venues in Doha.

The games would be determined by a series of home and away games played by the nations in the prior months. Fiji and Japan are expected to join New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina in facing the European nations, with the sides being ranked on results in two six-team tables.

The Mail reports that the Qatari bid team has sent an offer promising commercial returns of up to £800m. It has given them seven days to sign up to a two-month period of exclusive negotiations, according to the report. Qatar is believed to be working in conjunction with marketing and sports rights agency Pitch International, who have previously sold TV rights on behalf of all of the Six Nations.

Who will play in rugby’s Nations Championship?

The Nations Championship was unveiled last year by World Rugby, however it is the Six Nations unions and New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina that have control over the competition.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup was staged at eight stadiums around capital city Doha. Lusail Stadium was the largest with a capacity of 89,000, while six of the venues had capacities of between 44,000 to 46,000.

Next year’s World Aquatics Championships will take place in Qatar, as will the 2027 Basketball World Cup, while a bid for the 2036 Olympics is also being considered.