Ospreys 'not on verge' of merging with Scarlets and angry at chaotic way plans are being handled
Premiership Rugby Board say Ospreys statement is a 'disappointment' and does not reconcile with minuted meetings
Last Updated: 05/03/19 6:04pm
Ospreys have stated they are not on the verge of merging with Scarlets and slammed the 'chaotic' way restructuring Welsh rugby is being handled.
The Guinness Pro14 club issued a lengthy statement on Tuesday after 24 hours of confusion over a possible merger between the two South Wales franchises and the launch of a possible new team in North Wales.
Earlier on Tuesday, Ospreys chairman Mike James resigned over the proposed merger and accused the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) of "catastrophic mismanagement".
Their statement read: "The instability created by Professional Rugby Board's chaotic approach to its own imposed restructuring criteria has been the height of recklessness at its worst and incompetent management at its best - an approach which has resulted in wild conjecture, hostility and uncertainty in the regional game.
"Welsh rugby and the supporters of Welsh rugby deserve better. And the players, families, suppliers, commercial partners and those whose livelihoods depend on the regional game, certainly deserve better.
"We stand fully behind the comments of Ospreys outgoing chairman Mike James and add the Ospreys' voice to his in calling for fundamental re-examination of a truly disasterous process. We also stand behind the comments and concerns of the WRPA concerning the woeful lack of consultation to date.
"The Ospreys are NOT on the verge of merging with the Scarlets.
"Far from being a methodical, consultative process, involving all the game's stakeholders, looking at the greater good and the long-term benefit to all, the South Wales regions have been forced into a leaderless race for survival, with self-interest as its guiding star.
"The Ospreys are not afraid to think the unthinkable. Our region was born out of the previously unimaginable merger of Swansea and Neath and, later, the seamless integration of Bridgend. We remain the only region to have truly embraced, lived and breathed the concept of regional rugby. Our reward and Wales's reward, has been an unparalleled level of success for our region and an unrivalled contribution to the national team.
"We fully recognise the WRU's argument that the regional game requires further restructuring in order to remain viable and we support this principle.
"But, the way this has been approached has led to a fundamental breakdown in the fabric of the game. This must stop now. A new process must be expedited, with respected and competent leadership - professionally outlined and responsibly led - with transparency and genuine consultation as its foundation."
Soon after the Ospreys made their statement, a response came from PRB, which read: "We would like to make clear that the statements issued today by the Ospreys do not reconcile with the minuted meetings, actions and documented agreements that have taken place to date.
"The PRB support the principle of the proposed merger, not least because it is in keeping with the overall strategic direction agreed in planning sessions attended and agreed by the entire PRB in January.
"We wish to put on record its disappointment at the timing and the uncertainty that this has caused players, staff, coaches and the Welsh rugby public.
"The PRB is united in its pursuit of what is best for professional rugby in Wales. Today's events will not deflect the PRB from this course. It is vital that the rigour and accountability that has characterised discussions to date remains in place in the coming days and weeks."