New twists in Welsh crisis
New twists in Welsh crisisSHARE
Regional Rugby Wales have requested an Independent Public Enquiry regarding the distribution of funds in Welsh rugby.
This comes at a tough time for rugby in Wales, with the four regions currently in talks with the Welsh Rugby Union over a number of issues.
Amidst a mass exodus of top Welsh players from the country, the union is trying to decide what they will do regarding the continuing impasse over European competition that could see two rival European Cup events held next season.
Top players such as Jamie Roberts, Mike Phillips, Dan Lydiate, James Hook and Luke Charteris are already plying their trade in France, with the likes of Jonathon Davies and Leight Halfpenny set to join them next year.
The latest player to leave is hooker Richard Hibbard who said the lack of funding in Wales gave him no option but to sign with Premiership side Gloucester.
"I'm absolutely gutted to be leaving my home region, where I've been all my career," he told the Ospreys website.
"It's unfortunate that there isn't the funding to allow boys who want to play in Wales to stay in Wales."
Now the four regions have demanded to have an explanation of the current and projected distribution of broadcasting and competition revenues into the professional game in Wales.
A statement released by Regional Rugby Wales posed the following questions:
– Why is it appropriate for the Scottish Clubs operating in the Union’s ERC competition to receive an approximate distribution of €2.45m per team when the Welsh Regions receive only €1.225m per team?
– Why is it appropriate for the Italian teams operating in the same competition to receive approximately €2.3m per team?
– This is the existing position and we have received no assurance that it would not continue under the new 5 Nation European Competition proposed by the Unions.
– With the French clubs being able to negotiate TV revenues well in excess of €65m for their Domestic League, why is the revenue from French TV for the proposed new 5 Nation European Competition, negotiated by the Unions estimated to be only €14m?
– With the English clubs being able to negotiate TV revenues of £22m from their domestic league, why are the Unions only able to achieve revenue of £5.5m for primary TV rights for the Pro12 league?
– With the significant proposed contribution of £3.2m from Welsh television to secondary TV rights for Pro12, why is the estimated contribution from Irish TV only £910,000 and from Scottish TV only £140,000?
– Based on all of the above, have imbalances or subsidies built up in TV revenues between the various International and Club competitions negotiated by the Unions and if so, how did this arise?
– If this is the case, how can it be corrected going forward to ensure the Regions have the resources to retain and grow the pool of Welsh Professional players to adequately service the professional game and the Welsh National team?