Blues chief not hopeful of peace deal with WRU

First published in Sport

Cardiff Blues chief executive Richard Holland does not hold out much hope of a peace deal with the Welsh Rugby Union after the deadline of agreement for next season and beyond passed along with the New Year bells.

He said the regions were committed to Plan A, which has been offered to the WRU, of continuing to play in a Celtic competition along the lines of the current RaboDirect PRO12, as well as a Rugby Champions Cup with the English clubs which could also include the Irish and the Scots.

Plan B is a breakaway league between the Welsh and English clubs, with all the potential governance and legal problems that would involve. The regions have now set their own deadline of the end of January before they will push ahead with that alternative option recently confirmed with the English clubs.

In return the WRU has threatened to pull all their funding from the regions and put it into alternative teams to compete in the Pro12 and the Heineken Cup.

Chief executive Holland explained the political situation.

“We had a deadline (on Tuesday) evening to sign up to the Participation Agreement, which we couldn’t sign because we still have not had any confirmation of what we will be playing in from a European perspective,” he said.

“We have decided not to extend the current terms. What we have done is put a new negotiated position on the table to play in a new Champions Cup with the English which would see the Welsh regions come into an additional £1million each for three years, which would also see extra resource for the Irish and Scots if they want to join.

“We could play in the Champions Cup, the Rabo and the LV= Cup, it would be £1million more per region than we currently get from the Heineken Cup.

“We hope that once the union receives that proposal it could agree to it and we could move forward. If the union does not agree then we revert to option B, but we do not want to discuss that or put that on the table because we believe Option A is a fair solution that we want to see put in place.

“We will reserve comment on Plan B until such time as plan A is taken off the table. Plan A is our preferred option, that is why it is called Plan A.

“I was worried before Christmas because the options available to us were limited, now I am excited about where it may lead because Regional Rugby Wales has been able to negotiate a competition that will see us come in for additional monies that will enable us to be stronger as a region and have further discussions with the international players we are so keen to keep.

“It will strengthen the position of the regions and in my view strengthen Welsh rugby. The wish of Regional Rugby Wales has always been to work in collaboration with the union and hopefully it will see the merit of the competition we are putting on the table and we can cross the t’s and dot the i’s to move forward.

“I would like to think they would see the merit of what we are proposing, but I am not holding too much hope. A collaborative approach should be the way forward to do the best for Welsh rugby.

“Nobody wants to go down the other route but it remains to be seen if we have to.”

Comments (7)

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11:26pm Wed 1 Jan 14

SWBorderer says...

If the WRU want to set up 4 new teams, how about Newport, Cardiff,Swansea and Pontypridd. Don't think l've left anyone out :))
If the WRU want to set up 4 new teams, how about Newport, Cardiff,Swansea and Pontypridd. Don't think l've left anyone out :)) SWBorderer
  • Score: 3

10:53am Thu 2 Jan 14

DaiFrank says...

.... and all the legal implications concerning who has the rights to ownership over names/titles along with it. If the split from the Union happens, and I hope it does. (I've been hoping for 10 years now!), then the existing regions will want to revert back to their traditional names. It's not clear however what the Ospreys position is though. The BBC commentator Gareth Charles at yesterday's game asked whether this would be the last time the Cardiff Blues and Newport Gwent Dragons would play each other as regional entities or words to that effect. I hope it is. I've said this before, if the Anglo-Welsh league goes ahead and I hope it does, the English I'm sure will insist on club based teams because regions will create 'unfair competition' and that would create economic/legal problems. Besides, as Steve Jones has said, the English have great memories of playing Newport, Cardiff etc., and it makes sense to market games on that historical-tradition
al basis. The regions have been planning this for a long time, and it's one reason why Stuart Gallagher was removed because he was an ineffective spokesperson amongst other things and it is currently noticeable that the regional spokespersons are more militant and more power to them I say. BT's desire to see a new league and new European competition (ousting sky) is central to this. Finally Newport v Leicester or Dragons v Connaught. It's a no-brainer and always has been. Of course anything could happen and we'll know later today what the inept WRU will propose; but I'm ready for the return of the Black and Ambers under Newport ownership!
.... and all the legal implications concerning who has the rights to ownership over names/titles along with it. If the split from the Union happens, and I hope it does. (I've been hoping for 10 years now!), then the existing regions will want to revert back to their traditional names. It's not clear however what the Ospreys position is though. The BBC commentator Gareth Charles at yesterday's game asked whether this would be the last time the Cardiff Blues and Newport Gwent Dragons would play each other as regional entities or words to that effect. I hope it is. I've said this before, if the Anglo-Welsh league goes ahead and I hope it does, the English I'm sure will insist on club based teams because regions will create 'unfair competition' and that would create economic/legal problems. Besides, as Steve Jones has said, the English have great memories of playing Newport, Cardiff etc., and it makes sense to market games on that historical-tradition al basis. The regions have been planning this for a long time, and it's one reason why Stuart Gallagher was removed because he was an ineffective spokesperson amongst other things and it is currently noticeable that the regional spokespersons are more militant and more power to them I say. BT's desire to see a new league and new European competition (ousting sky) is central to this. Finally Newport v Leicester or Dragons v Connaught. It's a no-brainer and always has been. Of course anything could happen and we'll know later today what the inept WRU will propose; but I'm ready for the return of the Black and Ambers under Newport ownership! DaiFrank
  • Score: 4

11:36am Thu 2 Jan 14

blackandamber says...

SWBorderer wrote:
If the WRU want to set up 4 new teams, how about Newport, Cardiff,Swansea and Pontypridd. Don't think l've left anyone out :))
Naughty.
[quote][p][bold]SWBorderer[/bold] wrote: If the WRU want to set up 4 new teams, how about Newport, Cardiff,Swansea and Pontypridd. Don't think l've left anyone out :))[/p][/quote]Naughty. blackandamber
  • Score: 3

12:35pm Thu 2 Jan 14

Euwan Usami says...

DaiFrank wrote:
.... and all the legal implications concerning who has the rights to ownership over names/titles along with it. If the split from the Union happens, and I hope it does. (I've been hoping for 10 years now!), then the existing regions will want to revert back to their traditional names. It's not clear however what the Ospreys position is though. The BBC commentator Gareth Charles at yesterday's game asked whether this would be the last time the Cardiff Blues and Newport Gwent Dragons would play each other as regional entities or words to that effect. I hope it is. I've said this before, if the Anglo-Welsh league goes ahead and I hope it does, the English I'm sure will insist on club based teams because regions will create 'unfair competition' and that would create economic/legal problems. Besides, as Steve Jones has said, the English have great memories of playing Newport, Cardiff etc., and it makes sense to market games on that historical-tradition

al basis. The regions have been planning this for a long time, and it's one reason why Stuart Gallagher was removed because he was an ineffective spokesperson amongst other things and it is currently noticeable that the regional spokespersons are more militant and more power to them I say. BT's desire to see a new league and new European competition (ousting sky) is central to this. Finally Newport v Leicester or Dragons v Connaught. It's a no-brainer and always has been. Of course anything could happen and we'll know later today what the inept WRU will propose; but I'm ready for the return of the Black and Ambers under Newport ownership!
If I am honest I can see the WRU giving up on bluffing the RRW and offer them a new PA based on the current set up. It's the easiest and most common sense outcome. RL has taken things too far already and risks getting the boot if he continues IMO. As much as I would like to see the Aviva deal, I would hate to see our side, regardless of name, stuck in the English championship after dropping out after the first season.
[quote][p][bold]DaiFrank[/bold] wrote: .... and all the legal implications concerning who has the rights to ownership over names/titles along with it. If the split from the Union happens, and I hope it does. (I've been hoping for 10 years now!), then the existing regions will want to revert back to their traditional names. It's not clear however what the Ospreys position is though. The BBC commentator Gareth Charles at yesterday's game asked whether this would be the last time the Cardiff Blues and Newport Gwent Dragons would play each other as regional entities or words to that effect. I hope it is. I've said this before, if the Anglo-Welsh league goes ahead and I hope it does, the English I'm sure will insist on club based teams because regions will create 'unfair competition' and that would create economic/legal problems. Besides, as Steve Jones has said, the English have great memories of playing Newport, Cardiff etc., and it makes sense to market games on that historical-tradition al basis. The regions have been planning this for a long time, and it's one reason why Stuart Gallagher was removed because he was an ineffective spokesperson amongst other things and it is currently noticeable that the regional spokespersons are more militant and more power to them I say. BT's desire to see a new league and new European competition (ousting sky) is central to this. Finally Newport v Leicester or Dragons v Connaught. It's a no-brainer and always has been. Of course anything could happen and we'll know later today what the inept WRU will propose; but I'm ready for the return of the Black and Ambers under Newport ownership![/p][/quote]If I am honest I can see the WRU giving up on bluffing the RRW and offer them a new PA based on the current set up. It's the easiest and most common sense outcome. RL has taken things too far already and risks getting the boot if he continues IMO. As much as I would like to see the Aviva deal, I would hate to see our side, regardless of name, stuck in the English championship after dropping out after the first season. Euwan Usami
  • Score: 3

1:16pm Thu 2 Jan 14

silurix says...

Its starting to make a sort of sense now. WRU paying off debt early; tying WG to a long contract extension; making the regions an offer that they can ( and should ) refuse. It looks as though RL has decided that its time to dump the regions. If he does he's playing a dangerous game. The difference between the WRU and the region owners is that nobody at the WRU has to put their own money on line. As we've seen with the bankers, this can lead to reckless and irresponsible behaviour. There are some interesting ideas out there about the rise of career bureaucrats ( like RL & bank directors etc) and the growth of irresponsible capitalism. I hope that there are enough people with a bit of common sense on the WRU board who can steer things to a sensible conclusion. Nobody benefits from chaos. Collective Wisdom has never been the WRU's strongpoint though, so who knows where the hell it will end.
Its starting to make a sort of sense now. WRU paying off debt early; tying WG to a long contract extension; making the regions an offer that they can ( and should ) refuse. It looks as though RL has decided that its time to dump the regions. If he does he's playing a dangerous game. The difference between the WRU and the region owners is that nobody at the WRU has to put their own money on line. As we've seen with the bankers, this can lead to reckless and irresponsible behaviour. There are some interesting ideas out there about the rise of career bureaucrats ( like RL & bank directors etc) and the growth of irresponsible capitalism. I hope that there are enough people with a bit of common sense on the WRU board who can steer things to a sensible conclusion. Nobody benefits from chaos. Collective Wisdom has never been the WRU's strongpoint though, so who knows where the hell it will end. silurix
  • Score: 2

4:34pm Thu 2 Jan 14

SWBorderer says...

From what l saw and heard last night, Gareth Davies is a long long way from accepting any offer from the WRU. I believe that at one time there was a window of opportunity for compromise but Roger Lewis has missed that boat.
BT seem to have all the clout at the moment when it comes to TV sporting deals so if they get the nod from the English and Welsh CLUBS that that is the direction they want to go then l am confident BT will find a way for it to happen.
Personally l would have thought a 2 division Premiership would be more viable with Wales providing 5 teams, two in the first and three in the second, the extra team would be Pontypridd. Promotion and relegation to be from day one with the bottom Premiere B team being replaced by the top Championship team. Two, ten team Premiere leagues would allow time for Cup competitions and International commitments.
That's my suggestion, now l'm going for a lie down :))
From what l saw and heard last night, Gareth Davies is a long long way from accepting any offer from the WRU. I believe that at one time there was a window of opportunity for compromise but Roger Lewis has missed that boat. BT seem to have all the clout at the moment when it comes to TV sporting deals so if they get the nod from the English and Welsh CLUBS that that is the direction they want to go then l am confident BT will find a way for it to happen. Personally l would have thought a 2 division Premiership would be more viable with Wales providing 5 teams, two in the first and three in the second, the extra team would be Pontypridd. Promotion and relegation to be from day one with the bottom Premiere B team being replaced by the top Championship team. Two, ten team Premiere leagues would allow time for Cup competitions and International commitments. That's my suggestion, now l'm going for a lie down :)) SWBorderer
  • Score: 1

8:46pm Fri 3 Jan 14

DaiFrank says...

SWBorderer wrote:
From what l saw and heard last night, Gareth Davies is a long long way from accepting any offer from the WRU. I believe that at one time there was a window of opportunity for compromise but Roger Lewis has missed that boat.
BT seem to have all the clout at the moment when it comes to TV sporting deals so if they get the nod from the English and Welsh CLUBS that that is the direction they want to go then l am confident BT will find a way for it to happen.
Personally l would have thought a 2 division Premiership would be more viable with Wales providing 5 teams, two in the first and three in the second, the extra team would be Pontypridd. Promotion and relegation to be from day one with the bottom Premiere B team being replaced by the top Championship team. Two, ten team Premiere leagues would allow time for Cup competitions and International commitments.
That's my suggestion, now l'm going for a lie down :))
I would have thought that a crucial part of the negotiations with the English is also to extend the second division premiership by four; Pontypridd, Neath, Ebbw Vale and Bridgend.
[quote][p][bold]SWBorderer[/bold] wrote: From what l saw and heard last night, Gareth Davies is a long long way from accepting any offer from the WRU. I believe that at one time there was a window of opportunity for compromise but Roger Lewis has missed that boat. BT seem to have all the clout at the moment when it comes to TV sporting deals so if they get the nod from the English and Welsh CLUBS that that is the direction they want to go then l am confident BT will find a way for it to happen. Personally l would have thought a 2 division Premiership would be more viable with Wales providing 5 teams, two in the first and three in the second, the extra team would be Pontypridd. Promotion and relegation to be from day one with the bottom Premiere B team being replaced by the top Championship team. Two, ten team Premiere leagues would allow time for Cup competitions and International commitments. That's my suggestion, now l'm going for a lie down :))[/p][/quote]I would have thought that a crucial part of the negotiations with the English is also to extend the second division premiership by four; Pontypridd, Neath, Ebbw Vale and Bridgend. DaiFrank
  • Score: 0

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