Welsh Rugby Union: Wales must form three clubs, ‘Laughing stock’ – David Moffett, former chief WRU.

The man who created Wales' four professional sports teams believes they should be replaced with three.

David Moffett was the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU), chief executive, when the initial five teams launched in 2003.

He believes that Welsh rugby has become a laughing stock worldwide and WRU Dragons should be scrapped unless they are purchased outright.

“There's an old saying, isn't it? The definition of insanity involves doing the same thing over again and expecting a different outcome,” said he.

Moffett said the following in a broad-ranging interview with BBC Radio Wales:

  • Because fans don't travel to away games in large numbers, the United Rugby Championship (URC), isn't working.
  • Welsh teams should be playing in England. “But that's not going to happen.”
  • Welsh infighting must stop. Making Wales “a winning nation team” is the beginning.
  • Wayne Pivac, Wales coach, would have three teams. This would be Wayne Pivac's “quality over quantity” philosophy.
  • The original plan for the regions did not work because WRU clubs overwhelmingly supported it but “the people who didn't vote for” it were the supporters.

Moffett believes that only three professional teams can support Welsh rugby, which mirrors the belief of a proposal to cut a Welsh regionThese were revealed in a report by the Professional Rugby Board (PRB).

The PRB manages the professional Welsh game. It includes members from all four regions and WRU. Malcolm Wall is the independent chairman.

After a fifth-place finish at the 2022 Six Nations, debates over the structure of Welsh rugby resurfaced. None of its regions made a significant impact on Europe or the URC.

Moffett claimed that Welsh rugby is at war with itself constantly and challenged the WRU board's ability to improve the game's fortunes on both an international and domestic scale.

He said that he didn't know the key performance indicators the board or executives use, but they are clearly not suitable for their purpose. “I don’t know what they have, but I do know they have no key performance indicators. If they had, you would have noticed an improvement in the Welsh Rugby set-up over the past 10 to 15 years – it's actually going backwards.”

Moffett said: “I have been saying for some time that region rugby and the idea that I put into place has failed, mainly because the Welsh believe they've got an mortgage on parochialism and that parochialism could work for you, or in this instance against you.

“And so what are we going to do? Every year, we witness this unsettling spectacle about Pontypridd, which should have a professional football team.

“So I've suggested for years that it was the right thing at the time. But it's clearly not right now. So scrap it. Just three club-based clubs.

“It won't make any difference to how many people actually support them, because the regions aren't being supported right now.”

The Dragons are Wales' worst-performing team with two URC wins, and a draw, in 2021-22. Moffett said that they shouldn't be considered “sacrosanct” because they are WRU-owned.

Moffett stated: “My three teams would have been Llanelli Swansea Cardiff and Cardiff. But I'll make a caveat – I could also live with Newport because they are so near to Llanelli. [Dragons]The club became privately owned like other clubs, and the WRU was forced to give up its ownership.

He said: “The WRU shouldn't have a free pass for what they did by taking over Newport [Dragons]Their poor financial management has kept them relatively poor in the game, which is going to cause problems.

Moffett claims that the WRU cannot afford to fund four teams, because they “only seem to be capable of cutting, cutting and cutting costs”.

He also said that Wales doesn't have enough quality players to support more than three teams.

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