Rugby regions in Wales facing funding change

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Image caption Wales' regional sides have struggled to attract large crowds

Professional rugby in Wales could face another shake-up, with some regions receiving more funding than others.

The four regions are losing money and failing to attract fans, but the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) has been committed to maintaining four professional sides.

However, in an interview for BBC Wales, the WRU chief executive said the funding model could change.

An independent review, to be published next month, is looking at the finances of regional rugby.

All four regions currently receive £3.5m each for television and funding from the WRU.

But the accounts show they have all been losing money, partly because they have not been able to attract enough fans to games.

Chief executive Roger Lewis admitted the way regions were funded could change.

"You could have four different models, four different relationships with the WRU, and that is something that I have discussed informally with the regions over the last year," he said.

When asked whether this would mean three regions receiving equal funding, and a fourth region receiving less funding, Mr Lewis replied: "The permutations could be greater than that. It could be one and three, two and two or three and one.

"We've got to come up with the best solution for all of Welsh rugby."

Stuart Gallacher, chief executive of Regional Rugby Wales, also admitted change was needed.

"We all have to realise, put our hands up and say the way we ran it in the past as individual regions and clubs before that is no longer sustainable," he said.

Lost generation

"We have to look at different ways of running the professional game in Wales."

Bridgend and Wales rugby fan Steve Hughes, from Coity near Bridgend, said he struggled to support his regional side, the Ospreys.

"I feel that what we've got is a lost generation of fans who haven't bought into regional rugby, who have other things to do and who haven't got that connection with their regions. That's something we need to look at," he said.

Week In Week Out, BBC One Wales, Tuesday 22:35 GMT

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