With regard to the staggering of the international calendar, one might wonder about the cost of tightening the schedule for World Rugby (and associated unions) to reduce the interruption. This may be the most fertile path to meet the challenges – but the traditional Rugby Season of the Southern Hemisphere Union would also merit reflection, so the position is far from clear. Whether the extension of the four-week period is proportionate will therefore be crucial. On the one hand, this seems to be a significant path to the autonomy of clubs, at a time when they are on their knees. On the other hand, it is a necessary measure that allows unions to support the game at the grassroots now and in the future, and the total number of international matches that will be played in 2020 has remained the same. Clubs are unlikely to participate in their games in 2020 (if any) and there are already broadcast offers. As a result, their material impact may not be as significant as in other years. On the other hand, the wider game is desperate for support. Given World Rugby`s valuation margin, it would be difficult to find this decision disproportionate. In addition, the international game will fund community rugby.
Within their respective jurisdictions, the Union is responsible for grassroots rugby, because rugby is accessible to young people and there are ways for professional play. Although clubs operate academies, unions play a crucial role in ensuring sustainable participation and creating an interest in the community. These functions inevitably benefit the club`s professional game and allow them to compete in the market for rugby-related revenues. Without community play, interest in professional rugby would inevitably diminish. Most unions rely on international games to generate the bulk of their revenue to finance these activities, and the principle of player release is necessary for these games to take place. In this sense, Regulation 9 is pro-competitive – it allows the entire ecosystem (and thus the associated revenue market) to flourish. In order to be a restriction for purpose, the contested agreement/decision must, by its very nature, cause a „sufficient degree of damage to competition“ so that it is not necessary to examine its effects.  In determining whether such harm is occurring, „the content of its provisions, its objectives and the economic and legal context to which it belongs must be taken into account.“  It may also be relevant, as Stephen Weatherill pointed out, that publication periods are staggered.  For example, European clubs may have to release all international players for the summer tours in July, players from the Southern Hemisphere for the Rugby Championship from August to October, all international players for autumn internationals in November, and Northern Hemisphere players for the Six Nations in February – March. This dizzying effect causes disruption and can, for example, affect the broadcast value of club competitions. Clubs would say that this makes it difficult to avoid international publication deadlines, even if they wanted to change their schedules, adapt around them. There are also ongoing discussions on a „global schedule“ – an agreement that provides that the club and international seasons in the northern and southern hemispheres would be better coordinated, thereby reducing duplication between club and international matches, and fostering good international competition.
One of the most important proposals to consider is the postponement of the international window from July to October, the creation of a longer block of international autumn games and the reduction of the total number of „release times“ from three to two.