Since the advent of regional rugby in Wales and the signing of a participation agreement with the WRU in 2004, it has become clear that a stronger partnership approach to the running and administration of professional rugby in Wales is now required.
STATEMENT BY WALES' FOUR RUGBY REGIONS ON LAUNCH OF REGIONAL RUGBY
Since the advent of regional rugby in Wales and the signing of a
participation agreement with the WRU in 2004, it has become clear that
a stronger partnership approach to the running and administration of
professional rugby in Wales is now required. Other nations, including
England and France, have met similar challenges by creating
progressive partnerships between their professional tiers and
respective governing bodies and we believe such an approach in Wales
is long overdue.
This need is highlighted by the attempts over the past 18 months to
reach a conclusion over an extended participation agreement, which is
due to expire in May next year. Having reached a basis of agreement
with the WRU in May last year, culminating in a written offer from the
Union, we have since found ourselves back at the drawing board after
the Union inexplicably withdrew the agreed offer it had made. Over
the past three months, the Regions and the WRU have subsequently had
over 14 meetings, where little or no progress has been achieved.
Most recently, the issue of player release has been the latest
indication that a more considered approach to the game must be
adopted. The mid-season request for additional player release at the
expense of existing, scheduled, professional cross-border competition
only goes to highlight the current lack of well-considered strategic
planning. As previously stated, the Regions have always treated as
paramount our part in support of the national team which, last year,
saw the Regions release players for nearly twice the amount of time
formally required. But, whilst certain Union executives have received
bonuses paid for through the use of these players, the very same
executives have failed to fulfil their agreement to recompense the
Regions for using them in the first place.
As the national coach has so correctly identified, England and other
nations are indeed at a greater advantage to Wales, but not just in
having greater access to players for international duties. Their
advantage is derived from working practices aimed at the betterment of
the game as a whole through the creation of true partnership bodies.
These organisations have thoughtfully and collectively addressed
issues such as rugby development, elite player development, academy
systems, player welfare, enhanced domestic marketing, season structure
and jointly taken advantage of enhanced funding streams to deliver
It is for these reasons that the four Regions have jointly taken the
initiative of establishing Regional Rugby Wales Ltd, a company
specifically formed to represent and administer the combined
professional rugby interests of all four Regions in Wales. We believe
Regional Rugby Wales can act as a catalyst for a new era of the
professional game in Wales and begin the process of driving a new
strategic approach to the game, similar to that now enjoyed by other
leading nations in the rugby playing world. In order to help add
impetus to this goal, Regional Rugby Wales has appointed as its
interim chief executive, the architect of regional rugby in Wales,
former WRU chief executive David Moffett. With the sole mandate of
Regional Rugby Wales and the four Regions, David will now lead
discussions with the WRU aimed at delivering a long-term, sustainable
solution for the administration of the professional game in Wales.
RRW interim chief executive David Moffett said:
"The establishment of Regional Rugby Wales by the four Welsh regions
is a highly positive step and one I am sure the WRU will welcome. The
Regions have quite rightly recognised that, like other nations, the
key to the future success of the game lies in a professional
partnership for the overall success of the game.
The modern era of rugby requires modern solutions and I firmly
believe the time has come for both Regions and Union to embrace the
best practice already employed by other nations and arrive at a
similar outcome and similar advantage for Wales.
I have no doubt that with a true partnership effort, by the time of
the Six Nations we can have achieved an outcome that will take Wales
forwards to ever greater success."