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Wales captain Warburton could be clubless as civil war continues

The 25-year-old is facing the possibility of having no club side for the start of the season.

25-year-old Warburton will be worried by the ongoing dispute.
25-year-old Warburton will be worried by the ongoing dispute.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

SAM WARBURTON IS facing the prospect of going into the 2014/15 season without a club team to play for, as the civil war in Welsh rugby continues.

The national team captain signed a central contract with the Welsh Rugby Union [WRU] in January and it was intended that he would continue playing for the Cardiff Blues.

However, all four Welsh regional sides have signed a ”legally-binding agreement” that prevents them from picking players on central contracts. A spokesperson for Regional Rugby Wales [RRW], the umbrella body for the regions, confirmed the existence of the clause to the BBC.

Discussions between the RRW and WRU to agree a new participation deal broke down on Friday, when the former organisation released a statement lamenting the failure of a long series of “indescribably tortuous” meetings to yield results.

The WRU issued a counter-statement saying they were “saddened and surprised” at the RRW’s words.

June 30 saw the previous participation agreement between the RRW and WRU expire.

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As the situation stands, the regional sides will not field any player who is centrally contracted and, as such, Warburton may be without a club for the start of the season unless the two bodies can finally end their long-running dispute.

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Murray Kinsella

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