Rome - Italian rugby boss Alfredo Gavazzi
on Tuesday dismissed Bernard Lapasset's call for introducing relegation and
promotion to the Six Nations as a vote-grabbing initiative by France's outgoing
World Rugby president for the 2024 Olympics.
The debate emerged after Georgia's strong
showing at the 2015 World Cup, and intensified after Italy's woeful displays in
this year's Six Nations.
"I wonder if Lapasset is not looking
for votes in this region with a view to the 2024 Olympics," the Italian
rugby federation president told the daily La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Lapasset will step down from the presidency
of World Rugby in May to focus on his role as head of Paris' bid for the 2024
"We need to change the format of the
Six Nations Championship. If we want to look to the future, then the
competition needs to be more open with a promotion-relegation system,"
Lapasset told French newspaper Le Figaro on Monday.
"It could be either direct, or after a
play-off. But you need to quickly give a vision and some hope for these
teams," he added, talking about second-tier European rugby countries such
as Georgia, Romania and Russia.
Italy were the last side added to the
tournament in 2000, 90 years after France became the first country from outside
the British Isles to take part.
And for Gavazzi promotion and relegation
was unworkable in the tournament.
"How can you build a structure if you
have to dismantle it the following year? And what do we do for television
rights? And Scotland, last in 2015, will they accept it?" asked the
"Those who think that all that is
possible don't know what they're talking about," said Gavazzi, adding that
Englishman Bill Beaumont, the only declared candidate to succeed Lapasset as
president of rugby's world governing body, was "a pragmatic man".
Italy's 2016 tournament saw them collect a
second wooden spoon in three years after several heavy defeats - 58-15 in
Ireland and 67-14 in Wales.