WELSH Rugby Union chief executive Martyn Phillips welcomes the Dragons’ bid for independence but says any deal becomes “more problematical” with the inclusion of Rodney Parade.

The governing body increased their 50 per cent share and took over the region in the summer of 2017, buying the nine-acre site from Newport RFC in the process.

They paid £2.85million for Rodney Parade, wiped off an existing £900,000 loan and gave the Black and Ambers a cash sum of £600,000.

David Buttress was appointed as chairman the following September and the former Just Eat chief executive has recently been in discussions with interested parties to take ownership back from the Union.

He told the Argus in May that the Dragons could not “waste any more time” over regaining their independence and developing the north end of Rodney Parade, with the aim of building a hotel on the land.

Phillips shares the desire to press on with matters but stressed it isn’t as simple as just selling the lot.

“There are a number of different ways that you can do it and that’s the bit that we’ve got to work through,” said the WRU chief.

“On one extreme it could be just the rugby, while you could start to fold Rodney Parade into that deal, but that is more problematical.

“We are aware of our commitments to the supporters, to Newport County, to Newport RFC and to the Dragons.

“There are a number of different stakeholders and you would have to work it through in a way that is to the satisfaction of all of those.”

“The main issue for us would be around funding, for David to be confident that through a consortium he could put together something that would be financially stable,” he continued.

“There is no point in doing that and in a year being back where we started, so we have got to do it as and when we are ready, when we think it can be stable to do it.

“We all want the same thing but it’s just about doing it in a sensible timescale and a way that is sustainable.”

Phillips has no regrets about the WRU getting involved in the east, even if having a different ownership model to the Ospreys, Scarlets and Cardiff Blues has its issues.

“The very existence of the Dragons was threatened and we have been pretty consistent in saying we believe we need four pro teams in Wales,” he said.

“We stepped in pretty much at the 11th hour to help secure a future; that was fine and if I had my time over I would do that again.

“But in reality once you’ve done that you end up in the worst of both worlds. If we were seen to be over-supporting the Dragons then that rightly is open to challenge by the other three regions and is not a good position to be in.

“Conversely, if they don’t do as well as you want them to then it becomes ‘the WRU is not doing enough’.

“It’s really difficult in that sense and David and the team at the Dragons are neither fish nor fowl either.

“They can’t run it exactly as they probably would want to because they are a sub-business of the WRU, but equally we don’t want to be hands-on either because that’s not what we are here to do.

“What we would like to do is return the Dragons to independence, so they are just another seat around the PRB.

“We would like the Dragons standing on its own two feet and benefiting from the funding that the PRB generates like any other region, but also with the autonomy to take themselves in the direction that is right for their market.”