1. ITV Report

Regional rugby body "staggered and disappointed" by Welsh Rugby Union claims

The Welsh Rugby Union has claimed that the Scarlets tried selling star winger George North without telling him first.

It's an accusation made amid what looks set to be another turbulent time for the union and the four Welsh regions.

Mike Griffiths reports.

George North during this year's Six Nations Championship Credit: David Davies/PA Archive

The claims were made in a statement released on Sunday morning - which also addressed the subject of centrally contracting regional players, and funding for the regions.

The WRU is aware that the Scarlets opened discussions to transfer the player with clubs outside Wales and the UK late in 2012

George North informed the WRU shortly after the Wales v Ireland RBS 6 Nations international on February 2 2013 that he had then been told of the transfer proposal.

George refused to consider France, but reluctantly conceded he would be prepared to move if the Scarlets wished.


Elsewhere in today's statement, the WRU accuses the regional clubs of not providing a "meaningful response" to its proposal for centrally contracting Welsh qualified regional players.

It also comments on player transfers.

The WRU accepts that some elite players will inevitably seek to leave Wales to achieve contractual incomes which are beyond the capacity of the current game in Wales.

The WRU funds the Regions to secure the release of those elite contracted players with an annual sum in excess of £6million. This £6 million is part of the £15 million distributed to the Regions annually by the WRU.

The WRU urges the Regions to abandon the practice of selling Welsh qualified senior players for profit before their contracts are concluded.

The WRU further urges all four Regions to inform other regions and the WRU, as a first priority, when they are seeking to sell or release any elite Welsh qualified player.

North in action for the Scarlets in December 2012 Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Regional Rugby Wales - the organisation representing the four Welsh rugby regions - has hit back at the WRU's claims.

The four Welsh regions are united in expressing how staggered and bitterly disappointed they all are with the nature, intent and content of the public statement made by the WRU this morning on a number of issues affecting Welsh rugby.

As the governing body that should lead and set the standards and platform for the profile of the game in Wales, the regions are surprised at the WRU’s seemingly defensive reaction to some of the media reporting particularly given the success of yesterday’s Welsh derby double-header.

The group accuses the WRU of "delaying the process" of establishing a Professional Regional Game Board, stating that a Memorandum of Understanding had been agreed in November 2012.

There are a number of significant comments made within the WRU statement, that the four regions will now need to consider very seriously and with the appropriate amount of time and discussion before making a full and united response.

The four Welsh regions have been committed and open in providing full and detailed information for the PwC report and its recommendations and have been consistent in their aims to work in partnership for successful establishment of the PRGB.