Scarlets Speak Out For First Time Following Proposed Merger With Ospreys
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Change of heart.
Scarlets have finally spoken out following reports of a proposed merger between them and rivals Ospreys that has dominated Welsh rugby over the last few days.
News of a merger between the two clubs broke earlier in the week after discussions with the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) and the Professional Games Board (PRB) in order to make room for a new professional Welsh club in North Wales.
But things turned sour yesterday with Ospreys coming out with a strongly worded statement, making it clear a merger was not going to happen. But the PRB fired back, stating an agreement to merge the two clubs was an essential part of their restructuring plan for club rugby in Wales and that they were under the impression the two clubs came to an agreement on March 1.
And now Scarlets have finally come out to tell their side of the story, confirming the PRB’s statement was accurate and that Ospreys approached them about a merger back in December. But their rivals had a change of heart yesterday.
“Firstly, we can confirm the statement issued by the Professional Rugby Board (PRB) on Tuesday afternoon as accurate, as are the comments made by Wales’ national coach that the proposed merger was driven by the regions, in consultation with the PRB.” a Scarlets statement read.
“In late December, the Scarlets received a high-level approach from the Ospreys to explore the option of a merger as they had come to the conclusion that their position as tenants at the Liberty Stadium was proving to be challenging.”
“This was discussed at the two-day strategy meeting of PRB on January 8th and 9th. The loss of a region would have put Welsh rugby in breach of its commitment to having four regions playing in the major competitions. As a result, the option of a team playing out of North Wales was raised.”
“By the time of the next PRB meeting on February 5, discussions had broken down between the Scarlets and Ospreys and we were told that the Ospreys and another region were in talks over a possible merger, again with North Wales being the option to maintain four teams.”
“Subsequently, those discussions also broke down and we were approached again last week by the Ospreys to reconsider a merger.”
“Heads of terms were agreed and signed by the Ospreys and Scarlets on March 1 on terms we believe our supporters would be happy with. This was to be proposed at a meeting of the PRB on Tuesday afternoon, but we were told at the start of that meeting that the Ospreys had changed their mind.”
“The merger is off the table.”
“In recent years, the Scarlets have been building steadily to regain our place as one of Europe’s leading sides. We have a superb stadium, great staff, loyal and passionate supporters and a team to be proud of. We know that the problems regarding Welsh rugby have not gone away but we remain committed to the best interests of the Scarlets and the game in Wales.”