Wales Rugby Establishes New Board To Raise Fortunes Of Regions, National Team
Welsh rugby will try to "stem the flow of players out of the country and improve the performances of its regions in the Heineken Cup by setting up a body tasked with taking the professional game in the principality to the top of European rugby within five years," according to Paul Rees of the London GUARDIAN. A new Professional Regional Game Board will be "made up of four representatives from the Welsh Rugby Union and one each from the four regions, with an independent chairman." The move comes after a report into the finances of Welsh rugby suggested that "the level immediately below the national team was living beyond its means." Welsh Rugby Union CEO Roger Lewis said, "The report confirmed to all of us in uncompromising detail that we have to act very differently, so we have worked hard in a spirit of unity to forge a structure that can provide workable and meaningful solutions" (GUARDIAN, 12/4). REUTERS' Tom Bartlett reported that among issues to be addressed include the "continuation of a top-level player exodus." A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers into the sport painted a "dark picture" with the current system of four regional teams deemed "financially unsustainable." Poor management of those teams and "the country's history of political infighting is said to be hindering progress" (REUTERS, 12/5).