Dragons worth backing says Chris Brown
CHIEF executive Chris Brown believes it is a "massive leap of logic" to presume Newport Gwent Dragons are vulnerable if one of the four regions is downgraded to development status.
The struggles of the regional game have led to speculation about tinkering with the way that the Dragons, Cardiff Blues, Ospreys and Scarlets are funded by the Welsh Rugby Union.
An idea mooted by WRU chief executive Roger Lewis and former Scarlets boss Stuart Gallacher is reducing the money given to one of the quartet.
That leads most to set their sights on the Rodney Parade region, as they have traditionally finished bottom of the four in the Celtic League.
The use of differential funding is something that Brown believes must be on the agenda of the Professional Rugby Game Board, a body set up to run the sport in Wales and one that he is a member of.
But the chief executive believes the Dragons are well placed to avoid being the victims of any such moves given their solid financial footing.
"It has never been defined what a development region is but the implication is that it would be funded less than the others and that it would be developing players for the others," said Brown.
"The massive leap of logic is that if you had to choose a region (for development) then it would be the one that is placed fourth, which is the Dragons.
"That massive leap of faith is something that I find very, very frustrating.
"If you wanted to put money into a region then you want a good investment and would do financial due diligence on it.
"If you do financial due diligence on the Dragons then you find a sustainable business, a sustainable business model, a strategy in terms of the business, a strategy in terms of the rugby and a business that, together with Newport Rugby, owns its ground.
"You find a very stable corner of east Wales in which to base something special.
"So if there was to be less funding to any particular region then a massive leap of logic in the wrong direction is that it’s necessarily going to be the Dragons.
"The WRU are right to do their financial due diligence and see where their money is going.
"You have got to find a reason to invest in a region. If you find something that is not good in terms of financial sustainability then frankly, regardless of where they finish in the league, it’s not a good place to put your money."
Football is a growing force in Wales with Swansea City heading to Wembley for a cup final and enjoying their second season in the Premier League where they are likely to be joined by Cardiff City.
Brown believes that gives even greater reason to strengthen the rugby stronghold of Gwent.
"I am bound to say with my Dragons and Newport hat on that this region is a good place to put money," he said.
"We have the four regions spread across the country and Premier League football is going strong in Swansea and hopefully will be in Cardiff next season.
"Having a very strong rugby base slightly further east in Newport makes an awful lot of sense to me."
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