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Premiership backs global unified rugby calendar

English Premiership Rugby has backed proposals for a uniform global season calendar proposed by the International Rugby Players' Association (IPRA).

The IRPA wants the northern hemisphere season to start a month later and run from October to June, with summer international tours to take place in the last three weeks of July to start from the 2015/16 season.

The southern hemisphere unions, the RaboDirect PRO12, the French Top 14, the Six Nations and the International Rugby Board are now being urged to consider the proposal. However, concerns have been raised about the welfare of players who will take part in Rugby World Cups that take place in September/October. 

IRPA chairman Damian Hopley said: "We're in a unique position. For the first time since rugby went professional, the major northern and southern hemisphere competition and commercial structures are on the table at the same time. This is the ideal time to seriously consider change that will secure player welfare initiatives."