Ladies and gentlemen. We have now entered the end times. In the face of widespread criticism, the embattled Welsh Rugby Union has now truly lost the plot and is turning on the very supporters it pretends to respect.
What follows is a statement from the joint group of Welsh regional rugby supporters’ clubs. It includes a letter written by the Chairman of the WRU, David Pickering, which contains so much management rubbish that it is almost impossible to understand. The WRU have reached a point where they are unable to articulate what it is they are supposed to be doing.
Here is the statement:
You will be aware that following our meeting with the WRU in December 2013 we were offered a follow up meeting in the New Year which has still to materialise. We had a meeting scheduled for the end of March which was postponed by the WRU as they said it would not be a good time to meet. We of course registered our extreme disappointment and asked whether they would be prepared to answer some questions in writing whilst we waited for them to reschedule the meeting. The request was accepted and we posed the following questions:
- What is the WRU’s strategy and vision for Welsh regional rugby?
- What are the WRU intending to do to improve the commercial aspects and competitive nature of the Pro 12 game in Wales?
- What actions do the WRU intend to take to attract more support for the regional game?
- What would you like to see from us as a Joint Supporters’ Group in support of the strategy for regional rugby?
These questions were duly answered in a letter from David Pickering and the response reads as follows:
The WRU strategy and aim is that the four existing Regional Operations develop and thrive as the professional strata of the national sport of Wales. Our Regional organisations are funded by competition income, direct funding from the WRU and commercial income generated by their own business operations. We seek to monitor progress of each Regional Organisation through the forum of the current PRGB where concerns are shared and positive actions are identified. The professional level of the game in Wales is a crucial element of the pyramid of rugby which starts at grassroots level and leads through to the senior international team. This structure feeds the success of the sector of the senior international team which is the principle means of generating the level of income needed to support the priorities of elite and community rugby and the upkeep and use of the Millennium Stadium.
The future of the Pro 12 is linked to the new European competitions which will rely in the national and Celtic league structures as the means of entry qualification. That qualification is proposed to be based on meritocracy which the stakeholders are agreed and will introduce a level of jeopardy which should improve the attraction of the competition for teams and supporters. This, in turn, will help improve the commercial focus of the competition for future reasons. The impact on the elements of income generation which lie in the hands of the Regional Organisation is sure to be improved
The WRU has always sought to assist the Regional Organisations in improving the level of support for the professional level of rugby in Wales and that dialogues takes place in a structured way through the PRGB. For example the WRU has long suggested the Judgement Day format as a means of introducing new fans to Regional rugby and this has now been adopted by the four Regional Organisations.
The supporters groups are a vital foundation for the success of Regional rugby in Wales. Your passionate support will always play a crucial role in helping to make the Regional environment engaging and entertaining for new or old fans and you play an important role in spreading the word about why Regional rugby deserves to be followed. Your voice will continue to be heard and the WRU looks forward to hearing your views, concerns and ideas in the future.
The remainder of the letter from Mr Pickering was based around the disappointment of the WRU that we took minutes at the meeting and put them into the ‘public domain’ as they did not understand that this would be the case.
We have responded to them pointing out that not only did we make this clear at more than one occasion at the meeting because we are elected by our members and have a responsibility to communicate with you, but that a copy of the minutes were sent to them (and amendments made by their representatives) prior to them being circulated to members.
They also stated that they ‘found it unhelpful to the course of the dialogue we had hoped to develop in the future’ and that they ‘will ensure that they are fully conversant with the understanding and terms of any meeting we mutually agree to take part in’.
We will of course keep you updated on any future communications.