Agustin Pichot, the vice-chairman of World Rugby, has warned that the sport has 12 months to save itself from disintegrating if it does not manage to find agreement on a global calendar.
It had been thought that the announcement of a unified schedule, one that would serve the potentially competing interests of club and Test rugby, was imminent following agreement in San Francisco in January last year. Those optimistic noises have proved to be hot air.
Instead, Pichot sent a warning shot across the bows of all concerned by revealing that the powers-that-be would have to sit down again in Sydney in 12 days' time to rework the whole grid structure, remarking that they were only 40 per cent of the way in terms of finding an agreed solution.
The former Pumas scrum-half, whose term of office finishes next year, has threatened to walk away if he cannot help to navigate a way through the mess, saying: "I do not want to be an accomplice to rugby's ruin."
Pichot was asked if he thought the future of the international game was under threat.
"I think it is," said Pichot. "If you ask me as a businessman, the business side of it is not working.
"If you ask me as to the playing side, it's not working. The bottom lines are not there. We changed the calendar.
"We thought we had a fix. We are reviewing that. We started two months ago and we are reopening the door in Sydney to discussing it internally.
"We did have [club representatives] in San Francisco, the owners of all the parties. It's not that we should go against them. We should work with them to see what's better.
"But World Rugby has to lead this because, at the end of the day, we have to take care of the international game. Look at the balance sheets of some of the nations and you can see exactly where we stand."
There was huge fanfare following the San Francisco accord with agreement that the June Test window would move to July in order to accommodate the French and English clubs desire to play then, with the prospect of a northern hemisphere versus southern hemisphere Ryder Cup potentially to be played.
It now appears that World Rugby is considering getting rid of the November series of "friendly" Tests and setting up its own home-and-away international series in October.
"We don't want friendlies," said Pichot. "We want games with an edge."
The understanding from San Francisco was that the English domestic season would start later, be it the end of September or October, to allow international players proper rest.
Instead, within weeks, Premier Rugby indicated that it would still start in September and run through to the end of June, with rest periods built into that 10-11 month season.
Pichot was not impressed.
"They didn't honour what we said in the San Francisco meeting," said Pichot.
"Players cannot carry on playing as they are now. You cannot have them playing 30-plus games, all top games, just because you want bums on seats, just because you want to sell tickets.
"Everyone wants a competitive club game. Everyone wants a competitive international game.
"So you want the players to sell the seats and attract the [TV] eyeballs. It is the same athlete at the centre of it. You have to take care of the athlete. And they must be the priority.
"I think like a player. I have played for money. I have no problems with playing for money. I'm not saying I have the solution but I know that this has to be addressed.
"The first principle is the player's welfare because they inspire everyone. That is important for the growth of the game. But doing that is tough. Who trades what?
"I personally don't think the international game should be more than 12 weeks.
"If I see you in Japan [World Cup 2019] and I say 'I haven't succeeded' then maybe I'll go further and harder or I'll go home. I'm not going to be an accomplice to rugby's ruin."
Pichot believes that it is imperative that World Rugby gets round the table with the club power brokers in France and England to thrash out a solution as they all have a vested interest to make it happen.
"The clubs all want an international game," said Pichot. "It is not a question of them not wanting the international game. It is not that.
"So why don't we speak to them? Why don't we get together? If rugby wants to be a big and a sound business, we cannot behave like an old school organisation.
"When I was playing, we always knew a problem would occur. You couldn't carry on playing more and more and more, there was going to be a moment when a decision had to be made. And it's now. We are in that moment.
"What we can't do is put it aside. I know it's difficult. The biggest problem is egos – in business and in sport. By the World Cup we need to have a blueprint for the next 10 years. We have to find a solution."