World Rugby vice-chairman Agustin Pichot appears to have broken ranks over the radical World League proposal.

The International Players Association is united in its opposition to the planned 12-team annual Nations League that will increase travel, exclude Pacific Island teams and emerging European nations and not include promotion and relegation.

A shake-up of international rugby has long been mooted by Pichot, who has said the international game was under threat and struggling financially.

The game's powerbrokers met in Los Angeles last month to discuss the World League proposal.

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Pichot this morning responded to questions on Twitter, saying he wants the Pacific Island nations involved, along with promotion and relegation.

Pichot says he will never support a league that doesn't have a pathway for emerging nations.

World Rugby believe fans are "resoundingly positive" about the radical shakeup of the international game through the introduction of a proposed World League.

"We have carried out fan research via independent company in major broadcast markets. Fans were resoundingly positive about concept," World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper tweeted on Friday.

The world's best players, including All Blacks captain Kieran Read, have quickly reacted to the plans – yet to be confirmed by World Rugby – by listing their worries, including again freezing out Pacific Island nations.

World rugby's governing body say the manner in which concerns were raised by leading international players over a proposed restructuring of major competitions is "surprising".

Responding in a statement this morning, World Rugby said it "recognises and values the importance of player considerations and input into the annual international competition discussions.

"However, the manner the International Rugby Players (IRP) organisation has expressed these is surprising given regular engagement throughout this ongoing process.

"World Rugby's commitment to player welfare matters is unwavering and we will continue to engage and give full consideration to the welfare of players within the ongoing discussions."

The statement from World Rugby continued: "There is also no doubt that a structured annual international competition would deliver significantly greater long-term broadcast revenue for reinvestment in the global game. This project has at its heart long-term growth and stability, not short-term wins, and that includes greater opportunity for players."

Here is World Rugby's full statement:

World Rugby statement responding to players

World Rugby recognises and values the importance of player considerations and input into the annual international competition discussions. However, the manner the International Rugby Players (IRP) organisation has expressed these is surprising given regular engagement throughout this ongoing process. World Rugby's commitment to player welfare matters is unwavering and we will continue to engage and give full consideration to the welfare of players within the ongoing discussions.

It is inappropriate to comment on specifics whilst wider stakeholder consultation, including with IRP, is ongoing. However, it is important to note that some assumptions made in the statement regarding the proposed competition structure are inaccurate and that important matters such as playing load and emerging nation opportunities are at the heart of constructive dialogue on the overall concept.

Consumer research confirms a structured annual competition would make fans and new audiences more likely to watch, attend and engage with international rugby, exposing the sport to new fans worldwide. There is also no doubt that a structured annual international competition would deliver significantly greater long-term global media revenue for reinvestment in the global game. This project has at its heart long-term growth and stability, not short-term wins, and that includes greater opportunity for players.

As instructed by our Executive Committee and the Unions, we remain committed to a process of constructive dialogue with all stakeholders, including the IRP, to deliver a model that ensures the best-possible competition and commercial outcomes for all and a truly exciting and meaningful annual international competition structure that is great for players, clubs, fans and unions.