Welsh rugby on the brink of civil war
December 6, 2013
The four Welsh regions could take their own governing body to court for the right to play in cross-border competitions without the permission of the WRU, according to a report on Wales Online.
The regions and the WRU are meeting next week against a backdrop on confusion over the future of the Heineken Cup, the ongoing player exodus, financial concerns and a long-standing hostility between the parties involved. Suggestions that the regions could be invited to join an expanded Premiership will only add to the unease.
The WRU have given the regions until the end of the year to sign a new participation agreement but that seems unlikely given the shambles surrounding next season's European competitions.
The WRU, as with all other boards other than the RFU, is firmly behind the Heineken Cup while the regions have backed the breakaway Champions Cup.
But the Guardian claims the regions have taken legal advice about breaking away from the WRU. One regional official told the newspaper: "The WRU, by telling us we have to play in the Heineken Cup with a more modest increase in funding than the other teams in the tournament at a time when we receive less centrally than any of them, are not allowing us to run our business properly.
"It amounts to a restraint of trade. We believe we have the right to explore opportunities elsewhere, whether it is an Anglo-Welsh league or an alternative to the Heineken Cup. We are being squeezed by our own union to the point where they are telling our players not to sign contracts. This cannot go on."
The regions are also reported to be set to call an emergency meeting of the WRU and proposing a vote of no confidence in the executive. While they do not expect to win the vote, it would force the board to reveal some of the dealings of the last year or two.
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