A NEW funding agreement between the four regional and the Welsh Rugby Union has been agreed up until 2023.

The Dragons, Cardiff, Ospreys and Scarlets have had an increase of £2million for last year up to £5m, it will be £23m for next year and a further £500,000 for 2023.

The deal was passed by the WRU board earlier this month and is subject to the terms of the Professional Rugby Agreement.

Amanda Blanc, chair of the Professional Rugby Board that has representatives from the regions and governing body, hopes there will now be more clarity for the quartet.

"Success on the field requires a realistic and sustainable funding plan which I am delighted we have agreed," she said.

"Our regional sides are crucial to the success of Welsh rugby and this funding agreement gives them greater confidence and certainty to plan for their future.

"The PRB has consulted extensively to deliver this agreement which provides a credible funding plan for our regional game. We must now work hard to seize this opportunity for the long-term health of the game we love."

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the professional game hard and led to the WRU negotiating a £20m loan for the regions, who saw funding drop from an expect £26m to £3m (now £5m).

The Dragons are responsible for repaying £4.5m of that loan over a three-year period.

Rugby also got a £13.5m grant from the Welsh government as part of the funding package for spectator sports that have been hit by the pandemic.

"The PRB has worked hard on this latest agreement and we are confident we have found a solution that meets the short term requirements of each of our four regional sides," said WRU CEO Steve Phillips.

"The WRU Board is delighted to approve this solution to provide further stability to the professional game, in these most extenuating circumstances.

"The projected funding described is naturally subject to fluctuation depending on circumstance – as we all know well from recent experience – but it is also acknowledged by all parties that parameters, within which we can all operate, must be set as far in advance as possible, in order to facilitate the necessary planning process."

Dragons director of rugby Dean Ryan frequently complained that a lack of clarity over the region's funding had impacted his planning for next season.

"Some clarity over funding would be nice," he said in March.

"That's still something that we are waiting for and it's a challenge to try and develop and manage a squad when clarity is missing this late in the season.

"That is something we need to hopefully get more information on and to get better at in the future.

"It's hard because we like to pride ourselves on being transparent but 'don't know' doesn't wash it when there are livelihoods at stake."