He said: "Since the Scarlets first took part in the Heineken Cup [as Llanelli RFC] in 1996-1997 they have been the most successful of the Welsh teams, however, they have had to play at a venue that has regressed year on year. The WRU fully supports the aims and objectives of the Scarlets within the proposal for the new stadium and recognises that for top flight rugby to remain a viable option in West Wales it is essential that they move.
In my view, there are only two options available. Either the Scarlets go into liquidation, which will spell the end of professional rugby at Stradey Park, or develop, improve and prosper in a new, modern stadium. We are concerned that this application is supported as widely as possible because it provides the best way forward for both rugby in West Wales and our national game."
He cited the Liberty Stadium as an example of how new stadia are increasingly able to attract and accommodate bigger crowds for match days, with the Ospreys attracting gates of 20,000 on two separate occasions in the past three months.
Mr. Pickering said that if the Scarlets went into liquidation it would have a "big impact" on the national side and predicted it could lead to some of the nation's best players being lost to clubs outside Wales.
In his letter of support for the planning application submitted to the public inquiry, Mr. Pickering said: "Welsh rugby has professional teams successfully competing at the very top level in European, Anglo-Welsh and Celtic rugby. Other Welsh sports are not in that position.
"We cannot become complacent. We have to ask ourselves, 'do we want to carry on competing with the rest of Europe?'"
"If the answer is 'yes', then we need to aspire to a new stadium, so the commercial benefits can be maximised to ensure that we continue to compete regionally, and as a national team, on an international stage. Without such development our game will suffer hugely, both regionally and nationally."
Mr. Pickering also outlined the wide ranging benefits the Scarlets offer the people, economy, well-being and profile of the area and their good work undertaken in communities across West, Mid and North Wales: "Through their achievements and commitment to high standards, the Scarlets have been encouraging many thousands of youngsters for decades to a healthier lifestyle through participation in rugby. It is essential for future generations that this continues."
The WRU Chairman also outlined the importance of the Scarlets region as a whole, which provides a cultural 'link' between North and South Wales and helps to drive the 'economics of the area.'
"The Scarlets have the vision to give the community and their supporters a successful rugby region, both on and off the pitch. A region that is financially self-sufficient and that can go from strength to strength," Pickering concluded. "A new stadium is the only way to achieve this."
The public inquiry is expected to continue into next week (week commencing January 15th 2007).