Break away or die, regions are warned
December 22, 2013
David Moffett, the former chief executive of the WRU and the man who devised the current structure of Welsh regions, has urged them to break away and join the English Premiership to survive.
In an interview with the Rugby Paper which will anger the current board, Moffett said the regions had to break away to bring the current shambles to a head.
"If I were the regions, I would be going to court before the Union. It will end up in court anyway. They've [the regions] got to bring the fight on. It has to be a major fight, one which means that a fresh start can be made in the best interests of Welsh rugby as a whole. Bring it on."
With time running out for a compromise solution - the WRU has given a deadline of December 31 - and neither side showing any sign of being willing to compromise, Moffett said the impasse was "an indictment" of the WRU hierarchy.
"Why are the WRU asking the regions to exist on half the money for competing in Europe that the Scots are getting from the same competition?" Moffett said. "You don't have to be a genius to work out what's happening here. The clear inference is that the Union want the regions to go broke so they can take the players over and put an alternative system in place."
He said the chance to join the Premiership was one "they should take it with both hands … so should the WRU because it will bring more money into the Welsh game and consequently reduce the threat of the top players leaving for France. It would be good for the English clubs and it's a winwin for the Welsh clubs. It would be a huge step in the right direction by giving the fans the type of matches they want to see."
Moffett brushed aside complaints that the Premiership deal ignored the Scots and Irish, arguing in other major sports the natural fit was between England and Wales.
"The WRU has no control over the regions other than financial so they keep the funding as low as they can. The WRU have to be extremely careful that they don't end up like Welsh football, a feeder country for other countries. It's almost like that now. The players don't know what's happening. No wonder they're saying:'If I get an offer, I'm off'.
"There are now three choices: 1: The regions continue to exist but with the English clubs. 2: The regions go out of business and the Union tries to run alternative teams which would be a disaster. 3:Wales pick their best players from clubs outside Wales and the domestic game goes back to 13 professional clubs."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Ireland have the world sitting up and taking notice - and rugby's structure in Europe will aid their Rugby World Cup bid, writes John Mitchell
Where does Italy's win over Scotland rank among their successes in the Six Nations? Scrum Sevens investigates
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown