Wales rugby union crisis deepens as regions fail to extend Participation Agreement
Last Updated: 01/01/14 8:57am
The Welsh regions will not commit to extending the existing Participation Agreement
The four Welsh regions will not commit to extending the existing Participation Agreement with the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) before New Year's Eve's deadline.
The move had been widely expected and deepens the rift between the WRU and Regional Rugby Wales (RRW).
The four regions - the Ospreys, Scarlets, Cardiff Blues and Newport Gwent Dragons - are refusing to sign for a further four years under the agreement, which, among other elements, governs the competitions the sides play in and international player release.
"RRW, on behalf of the four Welsh Regions, confirms that the Regional businesses remain unable to commit to extend the existing Participation Agreement with the WRU by the deadline of 31st December 2013."
RRW claims the WRU's inability to confirm what competitions the regions will play in next season, with the futures of the Heineken Cup and RaboDirect Pro12 - as well as incomes resulting from those tournaments - yet to be decided, left them with little option.
Unable to commit
A RRW statement read: "RRW, on behalf of the four Welsh Regions, confirms that the Regional businesses remain unable to commit to extend the existing Participation Agreement with the WRU by the deadline of 31st December 2013."
RRW has set a new deadline of January 31 for the issues to be resolved, although it warned the regions would be left with no option "but to pursue further competition options immediately".
Their statement continued: "The WRU hold full responsibility under the Participation Agreement for the Competition platform and TV rights of the Regions and it is astonishing that they have put the four businesses in this position as a result of failing to fulfil their obligations under the agreement, despite having almost two years to resolve the issues involved.
"As it stands, the Regions do not believe the Participation Agreement reflects the changes and demands of the modern game."