It is with immense frustration and disappointment that Pontypool RFC can today confirm that the club has been informed by the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) that there will be no promotion or relegation during the 2021-2022 season.
This means that, yet again, Pontypool RFC has been denied the opportunity to earn promotion to the WRU Indigo Premiership until 2023 at the earliest.
In announcing its decision today, the WRU has once again eliminated the most captivating and valuable aspect of competitive sport - jeopardy. The governing body has lost sight of the fact that its remit is to facilitate competition, not stifle it.
This is the latest instalment of a long list of inept and rudderless decisions that further demonstrates the WRU is not fit for purpose and is in desperate need of reform.
Today’s lamentable announcement is a direct consequence of the WRU being governed by a Board of Directors who lack both the experience and competence required to serve the best interests of the member clubs they are duty bound to represent.
For over twelve months, Pontypool RFC has repeatedly asked the WRU to confirm its position regarding promotion and relegation for the 2021-2022 season. The club stressed that it was at a critical moment in terms of setting its annual budget and planning its squad and staff development ahead of next season. Without clarity, the club faced being completely unprepared for any future league campaign.
Time and time again, the WRU dismissed the club’s requests and stated that its Community Game Board were yet to make any firm decisions regarding promotion and relegation and the structure of future league programmes.
This protracted lack of decisive leadership and quality communication subsequently forced Pontypool RFC to blindly plan for next season in the hope that promotion to the WRU Indigo Premiership would be on the table. The club has invested in a competitive squad that will now be condemned to at least two further seasons in the WRU National Championship, irrespective of what the club achieves on the field.
The fact Pontypool RFC has now received the WRU’s decision a mere matter of weeks before the 2021-2022 season commences is nothing short of gross mismanagement by the WRU’s Community Game Board. Pontypool RFC should not have been placed in this position and the club’s investment for next season is now all for nothing.
Over the last seven years, Pontypool RFC has responded to the WRU’s continuous incompetence with a proactive attitude. We have accepted its decisions and have done our talking on the pitch, as our immense on-field achievements demonstrate.
But this time, enough is enough. The WRU must be held to account for its actions.
Pontypool RFC is therefore calling for the entire Community Game Board to resign from their positions with immediate effect. It has demonstrated that it cannot be entrusted with making decisions designed to safeguard the integrity of Welsh club rugby and the club has no confidence in its ability to govern the sport moving forward.
Notwithstanding this, the club wishes to place on record its full and unequivocal support for the WRU’s Community Director, Geraint John. Throughout this saga, Geraint has treated the club with respect and dignity. He is not the problem.
Pontypool RFC will now take time to reflect on how the club wishes to further respond to these developments.