Welsh regions offered £4m to join Premiership
December 29, 2013
Could the Scarlets be in an Anglo-Welsh league next term? © Getty Images
The four Welsh regions have reportedly been offered £4m each to join the Aviva Premiership, according to reports in the Sunday Telegraph.
The bounty, a joint effort from BT Sport and Premiership Rugby, would cover the £1.2m worth of funding they each receive from the Welsh Rugby Union and the £2.9m domestic rugby brings to the Welsh regions.
The funding on offer will reportedly see the Welsh regions turn their back on signing a new participation agreement with the WRU in favour of joining the Aviva Premiership. Such a move, however, would need ratification from the Rugby Football Union, a rubber stamp yet to materialise.
One potential stumbling block for the Anglo-Welsh league, a tournament which would include 16 teams, is the issue of relegation. However, reports in The Rugby Paper claim a deal has been struck which guarantees top-flight rugby for three of Wales' four regions.
If, for example, the Ospreys are relegated in the first season of the Anglo-Welsh league, they would be demoted to the Championship. But if the Dragons finish at the foot of the table the next season and the Ospreys fail to achieve promotion, the next lowest placed English side would be relegated instead of the Newport region.
The WRU, according to the Sunday Telegraph, will meet on Thursday to discuss its next step with central contracts and establishing three new regions on the agenda.
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