4:04pm Thursday 19th June 2014
POOLER corporate director Ben Jeffreys has warned the Welsh Rugby Union not to bury their heads in the sand despite seeing off a vote of no confidence.
An extraordinary general meeting was held in Port Talbot last Sunday after 39 clubs expressed their concerns about the way the game was being run by the governing body.
Only four club representatives out of almost 500 voted to oust the current regime.
Nonetheless, Welsh rugby legend, and board member, Gerald Davies said the episode had to serve as a wake-up call.
He said: "We need to have a strong identity and we need cohesion, collaboration and cooperation. We need to restore Welsh rugby and not through self-interest.
"We cannot carry on with having more of the same. We need the right rugby governance Welsh rugby can be proud of.
"We cannot come back here in five years' time for another EGM, as has become the pattern. If we do, we have failed. We cannot leave here without believing we need to change."
Jeffreys warns that rugby faces an identity crisis and that the trouble lies ahead unless there is real direction from the WRU.
"Unless there is change the club game is going to die a prolonged death. We are not connecting with people emotively in the way we need to," he told the Pontypool Free Press.
"From discussions I've had over two years, club supporters are absolutely sick to death with the way the game is being run.
"They are disenfranchised, attendances are dipping and volunteer participation in the game has fallen.
"All clubs have different requirements and I respect the outcome of the vote and their democratic right, however I do not feel the outcome represents the true feeling within Welsh rugby and for that I feel the game will feel the effects of this outcome for years to come."
The WRU are balloting clubs to see if they want to adopt a proposed new league structure or stick with the existing one for next season.
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