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Saturday, 22 December, 2001, 14:34 GMT
WRU delivers vision for future
Sir Tasker Watkins
Sir Tasker Watkins chaired the WRU Working Party
The Welsh Rugby Union Working Party's much anticipated report on the future of Welsh rugby has warned against a dramatic reduction in the number of Premier Division clubs.

Cardiff, Llanelli, Newport, Swansea, Bridgend and Pontypridd (the Gang of Six) delivered their vision of six-club top flight last week.

But according to the working party, chaired by Sir Tasker Watkins, going down such a route "could lead to disaster."

The report does recommend that the Premier Division should be reduced to eight clubs, but says that any further reduction would be problematic.

Other key recommendations include:

  • The Premier Division to be the only professional league, but additional support for First Division clubs aiming to improve their grounds to Premier standard.

  • All national team players to be centrally contracted to the Union rather than to the clubs.

  • A review of the number of overseas players currently playing in Wales.

  • The Celtic League to be developed into a full-blown competition with home and away fixtures.

  • The creation of a eight-man executive board to be responsible for the day to day running of the Welsh Rugby Union.

    The working party also stressed that these recommendations, if accepted, should be speedily implemented.

    They expect a new league structure to be in place with a season's notice, and for the proposed governance changes to be made by Spring 2003.

    Copies of the report have been sent out to all members of the WRU.

    They will have to digest the implications of the recommendations over the festive period before discussing it again at a Special General Meeting early next year.

    Working Party member Gwyn Jones
    "There are too many clubs and foreign players in the Premier Division."
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