Statement from Regional Rugby Wales

Regional Rugby Wales on behalf of the Four Welsh Rugby Regions has issued the following statement following media requests for a response to information regarding the regions circulated by the WRU in a letter to Club Secretaries of Wales' 314 community rugby clubs.

“It is regretful that on the very day and weekend that our regional rugby supporters and players have come together to enjoy a thrilling weekend of RaboDirect PRO12 action, that once again we have been forced into position of having to respond to what we consider to be misleading communication in the public domain.

“Unfortunately, it is just not acceptable to our beliefs and shared philosophy as Regions and with responsibility to all the many rugby supporters, players and clubs we work with and represent - to just ignore the seemingly sustained programme of spin that is being fed into the public domain.

“As we have maintained, our collective view is that we have confidence in the scrutiny and process of the independent PwC report, the PRGB and the Memorandum of Understanding which was agreed to and signed by the four regions and WRU.

“We have said, we are only happy to rely upon the judgement of the voting independent chairman at the head of the PRGB, to act logically in assisting the parties to move forward.

“We repeat our call for independent arbitration to find a clear path through the current debates and to scrutinise documentation, process and communication regarding the setting up of the PRGB and the terms of reference of the signed memorandum of understanding.

“We seek independent arbitration because it is clearly a much more appropriate way to conduct discussions – keeping any debate away from the public arena and through a rightful independent process.

“We maintain our view that the PRGB is the most effective vehicle to undertake the discussion and debate to identify the right solutions for Welsh professional rugby and that it is not constructive to conduct that debate in the public domain.

“We would like to make very clear that the Regions are not interested in “control” of the national game as they unanimously outlined in correspondence to the WRU in a letter to the Chief Executive on 7th February 2013 - excerpt as follows:

Unanimously, the Regions view is:

  1. It is fundamental that the interests of the WRU and the Regions are better aligned and that a more healthy working relationship based on trust and respect is fostered.
  2. The Regions do not expect the PRGB to have power or control over or to impinge on the international game, which is properly the concern and prerogative of the WRU but if it is to achieve the mutually agreed aims and objectives it does need to have a meaningful status and position.
  3. We have subsequently discussed your concerns and remain very comfortable with the concept of having reserved matters, which explicitly protect the WRU position in those areas which potentially overlap with the international game such as international player release. I am sure there are others but do not believe it is an insuperable task to compile this list (which is mostly in respect of the provisions of the Rugby Charter).

You declined our offer to meet to address those concerns. We are at a loss to understand why

This position was once again confirmed in a letter from the Four Regions to the WRU of the 14th February which was circulated to the Board of the WRU making clear:

The Regions fully accept that the WRU has the full responsibility for the game in Wales. We have consistently and repeatedly state this and did so again in our previous note.”

“Any amendments to the Participation Agreement suggested by the regions were purely to identify the framework for the PRGB and were part of the constitution of the new body not for the regions alone as suggested in the WRU’s communication to the community clubs.

“We fully understand and respect that Welsh Rugby enthusiasts and families would prefer to simply enjoy their weekend of rugby action rather than be subjected to the in’s and out’s of the debate surrounding the need for change to the structure of the game.

“However, we want to deal in facts and cannot also just sit by and watch the Welsh rugby public subjected to misleading spin.”