Regional Rugby Wales have reacted with dismay to a proposal that could see them not being represented on the Welsh Rugby Union's main board.
RRW is the umbrella organisation that represents Wales' four professional regional teams - Cardiff Blues, Ospreys, Scarlets and Newport Gwent Dragons.
A final decision is expected at a meeting next month when representatives from more than 200 WRU member clubs will be asked to vote.
"It is very disappointing and deeply concerning for us as regions that there is a motion to exclude us from the board of the WRU," said RRW chief executive Stuart Gallacher.
"This move, in our view, would renege on the spirit of our new relationship with the governing body of rugby in Wales, and we would question why it is necessary.
"We fully appreciate and respect there may be discussions in the future at meetings of the WRU board which we cannot be party to.
"And for that reason we have stated that we would quite happily remove ourselves from any such discussions or decisions where there is a conflict of interest; at the discretion of the WRU chairman. We are more than comfortable with that.
"However, to remove us entirely as a voice on regional rugby is, in our opinion, not in the best interests of the game as a whole.
"With a five-year participation agreement in place, the role of Regional Rugby Wales is to work alongside the game's influencers and policy-makers to ensure the experience, knowledge and interests of the regional game are voiced, protected and championed as one of the key facets in the future development and promotion of the Welsh game.
"But to exclude us entirely is a backward step for Welsh rugby, and we can see no reason for it."