A multi million pound boost to the annual investment into the game in Wales at all levels has been agreed this week by the Welsh Rugby Union as part of its annual budget planning.
I am delighted the board of directors have unanimously voted to approve these increases in our year on year funding for rugby at all levels in Wales
The board of directors of the WRU has, once again, approved increases in direct funding to the four Regions, the Principality Premiership and the entire community game following their strategic planning sessions at the start of the year.
All the extra funding is earmarked to be delivered from the start of the new financial year which begins for the WRU on 1 July 2014.
The WRU Board of Directors approved funding increases of 19% and 13% respectively to the Principality Premiership and the community game.
The increases to £1.5million a year for the Premiership and to £2.6million for community rugby will automatically commence from 1 July 2014.
The WRU and the four Regional Organisations continue to negotiate the Rugby Services Agreement tabled on 6 January 2014 which contains rugby, financial, operational and welfare issues.
This week's unanimous approval of the increases follows the strategic plan set out by the WRU Board earlier this year when funding levels for the entire game were discussed.
The Group Chief Executive of the WRU, Roger Lewis, said: "I am delighted the board of directors have unanimously voted to approve these increases in our year on year funding for rugby at all levels in Wales.
"I am particularly pleased that we are able to deliver these enhanced levels of direct funding during these challenging economic times for Wales.
"These increases are in line with the financial delivery expectations in our five year rolling financial and strategic plan which clearly indicates our future income levels and the associated costs.
"Our stated priorities are the wellbeing of elite and community rugby and this investment will help us sustain and develop participation while continuing to deliver talent into the elite game through our pathway structures.
"Our focus is always to maximise our income in order to continue to fund the game at a realistic level in order to ensure rugby has a future as the national sport of Wales."
The Chairman of the WRU, David Pickering, said: "I am delighted that all levels of the game in Wales are able to benefit from the income levels we are now achieving.
"Throughout this process we have been determined to make sure the importance of the community game was recognised within our strategic planning.
"Without a healthy grassroots at our foundation we would be unable to sustain the success we are currently achieving at international level.
"We all know that sport in general faces enormous challenges these days, but this announcement of increased year on year investment by the WRU signals our determination to make sure that the game of rugby thrives in Wales."
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