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Page last updated at 13:06 GMT, Wednesday, 12 November 2003

Dragons enter administration

Tony Brown
Brown feels he is bearing too much of the Dragons' financial burden

The Dragons have decided to put themselves into administration because of increasing financial difficulties.

The option was discussed - and dismissed - at a meeting last month but the regional side's executive has made a dramatic U-turn after predicted losses of over £1 million.

PricewaterhouseCoopers were appointed as administrators of Gwent Rugby Ltd on Wednesday.

BBC Sport Wales understands that some five fringe players have already been offered terms for their release as immediate cuts are sought.

And former South Africa full-back Percy Montgomery, whose six-month ban ends in December, has been the subject of transfer speculation to English Premiership side Leicester Tigers.

We have every intention of honouring all of the Dragons' forthcoming games
Paul Harding of PricewaterhouseCoopers

"We aim to assist the directors in finding a swift solution which will ensure financial stability and continuity of the Dragons in the regional rugby arena in Wales," said Paul Harding of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

"We would like to thank the squad for their co-operation, commitment and support during these difficult times.

"We will do all we can to ensure the club's commitments to the Celtic League and the Heineken Cup are met and have every intention of honouring all of the Dragons' forthcoming games."

Newport benefactor Tony Brown has been unhappy at shouldering the bulk of the fiscal burden of the Dragons while having to share the running of the team with Ebbw Vale.

Without his cash backing the regional side faces financial meltdown, which could allow Brown to step in and buy the biggest stake in the same way that Leighton Samuel has with the Celtic Warriors.

The Welsh Rugby Union had been keen to prevent Newport from gaining full control of the Dragons, but it seems now that it might be powerless to prevent it.

It is possible, however, that Newport will seek input from other Gwent clubs like Pontypool and Newbridge, leading to reduced influence from Ebbw Vale.

WRU chairman David Pickering, currently in Australia following the World Cup, was disappointed to hear of the latest problems afflicting regional rugby.

"If the administrators have to come in then we will deal with them, it is as simple as that," Pickering told BBC Sport Wales.

"Some regions have been more successful than others at dealing with the new set-up, but Mike Ruddock has done a great job with the Dragons on the pitch.

"We need to look at the way Australia embraces sport and the crowds they have attracted to the World Cup when rugby union is only the fourth sport in the country.

"We have to give it a shot in Wales. It will take time, but when people see the quality of the competition we have in place it will capture their imagination."




see also
Ebbw threaten Newport boycott
10 Sep 03 |  Welsh
Newport win Dragons fight
21 Aug 03 |  Welsh
Russell quits Dragons post
20 Aug 03 |  Welsh


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