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WRU and regions issue joint statement in bid to ease fears

By Ian Cameron
A general view of the stadium during the United Rugby Championship match between the Scarlets and Dragons at Parc y Scarlets on April 16, 2022 in Llanelli, Wales. (Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images)

The WRU and the regions have issued a joint statement through the Professional Rugby Board (PRB) in an attempt to ease fears around the leaking of a report that recommended that one region is cut.

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The findings of the Oakwell Sports Advisory report were published in the Times this week and caused huge consternation in Welsh rugby circles.

The report suggests that the Ospreys or the Dragons are at the front of the queue for the chop.

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Now the PRB have bid to quell fears with a longwinded statement in which it says it would be ‘counterproductive to discuss potential scenarios publicly at this time.’

The statement reads:

“The PRB remains committed to this purpose as well as meeting the many challenges the last two years have presented to the sports sector.

“We would like to reassure supporters, players, management and other staff, partners, sponsors, investors and all those with a vested and passionate interest in the professional game in Wales that the PRB is the right place to secure the future of the game in Wales.

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“The game would not exist without the efforts and commitment of these people and the PRB’s members are all absolutely aware of their responsibilities to all of these individuals. Every member of the PRB remains committed to this process and delivering what is best for Welsh rugby. Discussions are ongoing and no conclusions have been reached at this time.”

The statement points out that seeking outside opinion is a key part of their strategic planning.

“It has proved beneficial since the inception of the PRB to seek outside opinions on a number of issues. These opinions, such as those contained in the Oakwell report as well as other external reports, bring the dual benefits of objectivity and fresh thinking to a wide range of PRB discussions.”

It also makes it clear that no decision has yet been made on the matter.

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“Ultimately, it is for the members of the PRB to formulate a strategy based on all available information and relevant, sourced and commissioned subject matter expertise. This strategy building is ongoing and the Oakwell report has been an informative part of that process.

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“The PRB will present its strategy to the WRU Board in due course. A high level of interest in this subject is entirely understandable given the strength of feeling and passion that is fundamental to Welsh rugby. We are committed to sharing this strategy at the earliest appropriate opportunity but feel it would be counterproductive to discuss potential scenarios publicly at this time.

“The PRB collectively represents the professional game, is appointed to work in the best interests of the professional game and has the breadth of knowledge, expertise and business acumen to make the right decisions to safeguard its future.”

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