WELSH RUGBY UNION STATEMENT :: 31 Mar 10:07

WRU hits back at Press Reports

The proposal to create a Professional Regional Game Board was developed during discussions following an independent report which concluded that the Regions needed to improve their business management and explore collaborative solutions.

A memorandum of understanding was signed by all four Regions and the WRU late in 2012 agreeing terms for the creation of the PRGB, its remit, who should be its members and its independent Chairman.

Early in 2013 the Regions sought to interpret the memorandum of understanding in a manner which was unacceptable to the WRU.

On Tuesday March 26, in a desire to move matters forward, the WRU presented a new proposal for a PRGB and awaits a response from the Regions.

It is important to note that the WRU seeks to help the regions create long term rugby and business sustainability. Demands for more money do not address the fundamental problems.

The WRU urges the regions to work together with the WRU to ensure that a PRGB can become operational in order to help address the issues raised in the PwC report.

JUDGEMENT DAY

The WRU organised, marketed and managed the event within its stated aim of helping the Regions achieve greater visibility and attract more and new supporters. This initiative was first proposed to the Regions by the WRU in 2007.

The WRU guarantees significant match fees to the Blues and Dragons as this day replaces their scheduled home fixtures.

The WRU has underwritten the event for four years with financial guarantees.

The WRU has also proposed further, major events involving the four Regions at the Millennium Stadium.

Judgement Day has proved a remarkable success with 36, 174 people attending to watch a celebration of regional rugby which has raised the profile of the elite game in Wales.

PLAYER TRANSFERS

The WRU accepts that some elite players will inevitably seek to leave Wales to achieve contractual incomes which are beyond the capacity of the current game in Wales.

The WRU has developed an elite pathway structure which nurtures talent through the WRU age grade structure, the WRU academies, the WRU funded regional age grade competitions, the Principality Premiership Division and its WRU resourced community game.

The WRU funds the Regions to secure the release of those elite contracted players with an annual sum in excess of £6million. This £6 million is part of the £15 million distributed to the Regions annually by the WRU.

The WRU has created a powerful elite playing and training environment through its National Centre of Excellence. The WRU urges the Regions to abandon the practice of selling Welsh qualified senior players for profit before their contracts are concluded.

The WRU further urges all four Regions to inform other regions and the WRU, as a first priority, when they are seeking to sell or release any elite Welsh qualified player.

GEORGE NORTH

The WRU is aware that the Scarlets opened discussions to transfer the player with clubs outside Wales and the UK late in 2012.

George North informed the WRU shortly after the Wales v Ireland RBS 6 Nations international on February 2 2013 that he had then been told of the transfer proposal.

George refused to consider France, but reluctantly conceded he would be prepared to move if the Scarlets wished.

CENTRAL CONTRACTS

The WRU first tabled an offer to discuss centrally contracting Welsh qualified regional players in August 2012 and has renewed that proposal. No meaningful response from the Regions has been received by the WRU.

The WRU revisited the issue of George North and agreed to consider assisting in a financial model to retain him in Wales with one of the four Regions.

The WRU has recently discovered that the Regions signed an agreement which precludes any of them playing an individual who is centrally contracted to the Union.

The WRU urges all four Regions to abandon this stance and return to the negotiating table.