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Regions to get WRU loans

The Welsh Rugby Union has approved interest-free loans totalling £660,000 to its four professional regions.

It follows a request for financial help from the regions - Cardiff Blues, Ospreys, Scarlets and Newport Gwent Dragons - after European Rugby Cup participation money was withheld.

The regions had each been expecting 200,000 euros to be paid by ERC last month, the latest in a series of payments made to teams competing in this season's European competitions.

But ERC said payment was not due until a February 5 board meeting, which has then put back another fortnight ahead of further discussions on Wednesday of this week.

ERC said its decision to postpone payments followed legal advice received by the ERC board.

In a statement, the WRU said: "The Welsh Rugby Union Board has today approved requests from the four regional organisations for financial assistance, in the form of interest-free loans totalling £660,000, to help their cash-flow as a result of the recent decision of the ERC board not to release financial distributions to participants in ERC's tournaments.

"In a statement on Wednesday, February 5 ERC explained that the unanimous decision to postpone financial distributions followed preliminary professional advice received by the ERC board and was taken in the best interests of ERC."

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