Regional Rugby Wales on behalf of the four Welsh regions, the Scarlets, the Ospreys, Newport Gwent Dragons and Cardiff Blues issues the following statement in order to establish important facts and provide clarity regarding the future of Welsh regional rugby.

  • The Rugby Champions Cup will bring the biggest increase of funding into the Welsh game in five years.  It will increase funding to the Irish clubs and protect the Scottish clubs.  Bringing in £12m in three years into the Welsh game does not threaten the Six Nations or bring about its demise.
  • In only two months, the Welsh Regions have themselves, negotiated the biggest increase in funding for Welsh Rugby of the last five years and are simply asking the WRU as the governing body for support in this.
  • The WRU not only has full responsibility, but is also contractually obliged to negotiate competition revenues and TV distribution revenues under the Participation Agreement.  The WRU has failed miserably to negotiate equitable and fair revenue distribution for Welsh clubs in line with clubs in England and France.
  • The ERC Accord finishes this year and the WRU’s latest proposal for a replacement to exclude the English clubs includes six undefined French clubs and maintains an unequal distribution of revenue to the Welsh clubs.  Given the other opportunities that now exist, it is an inferior competition. The proposed competition would only be available on Sky TV, not terrestrial television, as is the case with the existing European competition.
  • It’s disappointing that the WRU’s disrespectful response to another significant and positive proposal from the Regions (as it was to the real PRGB last year) is once again to engage in a vitriolic and disingenuous attack on the Welsh Regions; with the purpose of detracting attention away from the real issues Welsh regional rugby is facing and that need addressing urgently.
  • The Regions would question why the WRU are scaremongering about a break away.  This has never been mentioned by the Regions who have only asked for positive support as outlined in their most recent statement of 31st December. As stated then; it continues to be the absolute intent and strong desire of RRW and the Regions to work with the WRU in progressing such a positive position for the next five years of professional Rugby in Wales, or indeed to discuss any proposals WRU themselves may have that could provide an even stronger platform for sustainable and competitive professional rugby across Wales.
  • It is incredulous to the Welsh Regions that the WRU refused to discuss any item in the current Participation Agreement before its deadline of 31st December but is now willing to offer a “new agreement” on different terms.   Equally it is yet to be explained by the WRU why bringing an additional £12m into the game by the Regions, is not in the best interests of Welsh rugby.
  • It would seem from the recent correspondence from the WRU to clubs in Wales that their focus is all about control and not the best interests of Welsh rugby.
  • RRW and the Regions, through no choice of their own, have been forced to consider every alternative to secure a sustainable future for regional rugby in Wales; and have worked tirelessly to be able to plan their futures positively based on new options in the absence of any concrete proposals on income and distribution for Europe or the PRO12 league.
  • The proposed “one-off payment” of £1m for the recruitment, retention and development of Welsh international players was always linked to a requirement for the Regions to sign an extension to the Participation Agreement.  In the Regions view, it was purely a hollow stunt because it always carried impossible conditions.
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  1. oldpedro says:

    1 question re the Rugby Champions Cup – the tv contract is with BT Sport so will this still mean coverage is still only via subscription as is the current Sky tv deal?

  2. andrew says:

    who cares what channel of tv its on ,it,s about keeping welsh players in wales and getting a fair crack at running viable business,the wru are now trying everything and any thing to bad mouth the regions,roger lewis and pickering hang your heads in shame and resign for the good of wales and the welsh people

  3. oldpedro says:

    I agree that the channel is not particularly significant. However if the tv ‘fact’ is misleading, how accurate are the other facts. Bottom line is that both the ‘superclubs’, sorry ‘regions’ and the union need to sit down and negotiate with each other rather than conducting a slanging match via press statements and letters.

  4. johnboyrfc says:

    most of the revenue that the wru makes is of all the international games they play in the autumn and the six nations they also take revenue from the regions throughout the season some of the money comes from broadcasting deals. what no person is talking about is that the wru have made huge profits in the last four years and are more concerned about paying the millennium stadium debt of early they have been under funding the regions since 2009 when the last participation agreement was signed. also when the regions send they revenue to the wru they get £1.5 mill back so in real terms the wru give less to the regions on a yearly bases. with this money the regions have to fund the academies as well. it is high time the wru stopped playing power games with welsh rugby we should have an egm and have a vote of no confidence in the wru board for to long have we had hangers on in the wru hungry for power and control

  5. Alcyone says:

    The fans want meaningful rugby every week, not just international games twice a year. We grew up with the club game, engaging with other teams’ supporters and watching OUR players grow and prosper.

    The game is being killed by those that believe that rugby is about International show games with loud music and big flares.

    Fight them all th eway. Fight to the death. Reclaim our game, before there are none of us left.

    Read Gwlad, and fight for our Regions.

  6. Dean says:

    At the end of the day welsh rugby needs to be playing high intensity games week in, week out (just like the SH teams) to improve our international fortune.. Would we get that from playing English than being in the rabo and Europe, only time will tell. But we also have to think about the longevity of the new competition.. How likely will the English clubs drop us if something better comes along?! And if that happens welsh rugby will very isolated indeed!

  7. Prudence says:

    I live in France and I am a very interested observer in the continuing dispute between the WRU and RRW. I was born in Tredegar and was lucky enough to see Wales beat the All Blacks at the Arms Park in 1953 and again last year on a visit to watch Cardiff beat Toulon.

    I believe that the aim of the WRU is to maximise its income and develop the game to its full potential at all levels so it can produce an international team which enjoys continuing success. The main generator of this income is the international matches but the main responsibility for producing the highest possible calibre international players rests predominately with the four regions. Therefore I believe that they should have a major voice within the decision making processes of the WRU.

    I have not seen any predictions from rugby correspondents about the likely outcome of this dispute. My belief is that the Heineken cup will be replaced by the competition based on all the principles proposed by the English Premier League. There will still be a Pro Rabo League. There will be a new TV broadcaster and the other Unions will have to resolve the contractual arrangements which they currently have with Sky. When they do, then I believe that the future of rugby in all the European countries will have been put on a much firmer footing.

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