The rulers of world rugby are exploring ways to restructure the fixture list to cut the physical demands on top players - but there will be no quick solution.
The International Rugby Board are pursuing a proposal from England's Rugby Football Union to appoint an independent consultant to take an objective look at the global season.
Earlier this week the Professional Rugby Players' Association called for a reduction in the stress placed on players by the virtual year-round programme of club and international fixtures.
Francis Baron, the RFU chief executive, responded: "The IRB are moving forward to try and produce the concept of a global season. You would then start to eliminate some of the bad sides of the structure in our game and in the Southern Hemisphere.
"We have a duty of care to the players. We want their careers to be prolonged not shortened. We want the top players not only to be playing for England but also to be playing for their clubs in the big competitions."
But he warned: "You are talking years, not something that will happen next year."
Baron also stressed that no cuts could be pushed through which would lead to reduced revenue for the game.
However, he believes that progress can be made with an international company, with no affiliation to any of the rugby countries, carrying out the examination.
"We recommended that this thing had to be taken out of the committee area. It cannot be a hemispherical political issue.
"That's why we recommended going outside to an external heavyweight company, one of the top firms in the world, and they have to look at it entirely objectively. What is best for rugby? The IRB will shortly be announcing which firm is going to be appointed.
"The whole point of that is to bring objectivity into it. The firm will go around and take the view of all interested parties. Particularly here, the interests of the club game will be taken into account," said Baron, who hopes that the report will be ready for the November series of IRB meetings.
The chief executive does not, however, see a switch to summer rugby in Britain. "Playing rugby in July or August is not what we are about here but there are things you can do without making dramatic changes.
"You can't play at a time of year when people don't want to watch rugby. Revenue has got to be maintained, you have clearly got to have a structure that appeals to the television market and you also have to have the right playing structure to enable you to develop players and maintain the growing interest in the game."
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