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Qatar in ‘exclusive talks’ over lucrative Nations Championship deal

Featured image credit: Visit Qatar on Unsplash

Qatar has reportedly entered into exclusive negotiations to host the finale of the Nations Championship, rugby union’s new national team tournament that is set to launch in 2026.

According to The Telegraph, Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, which served as the organising committee for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in the country, has entered into a two-month exclusivity period with Six Nations Rugby and SANZAAR – the umbrella body of South African, New Zealand, Australian and Argentinian rugby.

The Six Nations and SANZAAR teams will compete in the 12-team tournament, alongside two further unions that will be selected via a SANZAAR-run process. Qatar’s eight-year deal would reportedly be worth £800m (€940m/$1bn) and cover the first four editions of the competition.

World Rugby announced the new tournament in October but did not confirm any plans for a finale-style series. The Nations Championship is slated to take place every two years, and it was reported in April that Qatar was interested in submitting a multi-year bid to host the finale of the event.

According to The Telegraph, Qatar has pitched a six-match finals event that would include all 12 tier-one nations. Qatar would host the event over three days in November, and one of the proposed host venues is Lusail Stadium (pictured), which staged the 2022 FIFA World Cup final.

Qatar Airways has reportedly been lined up as the title sponsor, while Pitch International is said to have been engaged to sell television rights.

A Six Nations spokesperson told The Telegraph: “The interest and excitement for rugby’s Nations Cup continues to build, ahead of its introduction in 2026. However, we do not comment on commercial matters or engage in speculation.”