A new national league structure for Welsh rugby has been confirmed for next season after a ballot of clubs saw a significant majority vote to adopt the new format.
The Board of the Welsh Rugby Union formally approved the new plan for the SWALEC Leagues after reviewing the feedback they had called for after the issue was debated by clubs at an Extraordinary General Meeting.
At the EGM earlier this month a cross section of views had been expressed about the new structure which had originally been approved with the details sent out to clubs in August 2013.
In the ballot 70% of clubs or affiliated organisations responded with votes for or against and 61% of those voted to approve the new league structure.
The progress of the new league format will be monitored throughout season 2014/15 by a WRU working group and reviewed in May 2015.
An Appeals Panel, with an independent and legally qualified chair, is being established and is considering appeals from individual clubs related to their league placings in the new structure.
The new leagues were established after a working party was set up to review the league format following initial feedback from the WRU Club Census of 2012.
The principal issues raised then by clubs were the distances travelled to fulfil fixtures and the related costs.
Contrary views related to the new structure were expressed after the original decision to adopt the new format was communicated to clubs in 2013.
At the recent EGM it was agreed that a ballot should take place and its findings put before the WRU Board before any decision to confirm the adoption of the new league was taken.
The deadline for clubs to contact the Appeals Panel is Friday 4th July 2014.
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The Principality Premiership awards and the Wales U20s get ready for the world cup in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We hear from coach of the year, Ebbw Vale's Jason Strange and Wales scrum half Rhys Webb. We also speak to Wales U20s Rory Thornton, Harrison Keddie, Tom Phillips and Geraint Lewis.
Pontypridd claim the Principality Premiership title - we speak to captain Dafydd Lockyer and coach Gareth Wyatt on the Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We also hear from losing finalists Ebbw Vale and their coach Jason Strange, while Steve Tandy and Dan Baker look ahead to the Ospreys Guinness Pro12 semi-final in Munster and Wales U20 defence coach Richard Hodges talks about the Junior World Championships.
Bargoed gained revenge for their only league loss of the season 25 days earlier by Merthyr as they added the Worthington Mid District Cup at Sardis Road, Pontypridd, to their earlier Championship success with a 39-20 triumph.
Developing the game in Wales and creating a stable and progressive environment for players of the future
Taking the grass roots game out across the length and breadth of the nation, the SWALEC Leagues are the focus of the community rugby in Wales
SSE SWALEC Cup
The SSE SWALEC Cup, Plate and Bowl continue the legacy of the WRU Challenge Cup, culminating in a shot at glory at the Millennium Stadium
Women's Community Rugby embraces both the regional and community club game from Girls' Leagues through to the Women's Premier Division