THE LATEST STATEMENT from Regional Rugby Wales [RRW] – speaking on behalf of the Scarlets, Ospreys, Dragons and Blues – has failed to provide any real clarity as to the future of the club game in Wales.
The regions have confirmed that they won’t be prolonging their participation agreement with the Welsh Rugby Union [WRU] by tonight’s deadline. However, Regional Rugby Wales has also indicated that they have set a new deadline of January 31, 2014 for a new deal to be agreed.
The hope had been that this evening’s statement would move this battle on to some extent, but realistically very little has changed. RRW has shown little concern for Welsh club supporters with their failure to provide any clear signs of what the future holds. A decision either way would surely be welcome at this stage, particularly as the statement indicated that the regions “remain totally committed to working with the WRU.”
RRW has indicated that should no agreement be reached by the end of January, the regions will be forced to “pursue further competition options immediately.” Clearly, that threat refers to the mooted Anglo-Welsh Premiership for which the regions have reportedly been offered £4 million to join from next season.
This latest statement highlights that the Welsh sides have not received “any form of robust business plan and financial forecast beyond May” from the WRU, meaning they fear that the current changes in European rugby will “dramatically increase the funding gap between the Regions and clubs in France and England over the next five years.”
Whatever the outcome is to be, most rugby fans in Wales and beyond are surely sick to the teeth of these unclear and often ambiguous statements. The hope is that the next deadline in January is truly decisive.
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