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Thursday, 23 January, 2003, 11:09 GMT
Gallacher demands more
Llanelli skipper Leigh Davies
Gallacher says that Llanelli will stand alone
Welsh rugby's bitter battle over the future of the professional game enters a critical phase on Thursday.

The Premier clubs have the morning to agree on a plan to present to the Welsh Rugby Union's 27-member general committee later in the day.

If no workable proposal is forthcoming, WRU group chief executive David Moffett will recommend the introduction of four regional teams to represent Wales in Heineken Cup and Celtic League competitions.

The Premier clubs want to retain their base, forming so-called super clubs, but have so far been able to agree the exact format.

What's the point of doing anything if you're going to get more or less the same money?

Llanelli chief executive Stuart Gallacher

Whereas Moffett's plans are aimed primarily at condensing Wales' best players to raise standards, one of the biggest sticking points for the clubs is the funding they will receive.

Llanelli and Cardiff are determined to try and stand alone, while there are myriad merger combinations - also a sticking point - for the other seven Premier clubs.

The WRU has put 8 million on the table to fund five new franchises, with the intention that combined teams receive a greater share.

However, Llanelli chief executive Stuart Gallacher told BBC Wales that the Scarlets want to stand alone while also getting greater funding, close or equal to the amount a combined team would receive.

"If the five-team proposal is agreed, we want to re-address the funding issue," Gallacher said.

"We'll stay as nine clubs if the money isn't there.

"What's the point of doing anything if you're going to get more or less the same money as you're sharing now?"

Moffett said last week that "the clock was ticking" and he had "drawn a line in the sand".

He was determined that Thursday evening's meeting would forward a recommendation or recommendations to an Extraordinary General Meeting of Wales' 239 member clubs.

The EGM is scheduled for 23 February, with WRU member clubs set to decide, courtesy of a simple majority, which proposal should win the day.

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Llanelli chief executive Stuart Gallacher
"We intend to stand alone"

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