The Guinness PRO14 has been dealt another blow on the back of a report that four of its teams are facing a 'fight for survival'.
According to the Sunday Times, funding for the four Welsh professional teams from the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) is set to drop from £27 million to just £3 million over the next year.
The report says that each club may only receive £500,000 each in 2021.
In the most recent financial year, Scarlets got the highest amount of £8.5 million from the WRU.
They were followed by Ospreys and Cardiff Blues who received £6.5 million each, ahead of the £5.5 million given to Dragons.
The Welsh Rugby Players’ Association (WRPA) had already agreed to a 25 per cent pay cut for three months, beginning on 1 April.
The reduction did not apply to players earning £25,000 or less per annum but it is now thought the cuts could be extended while redundancies could also be a possibility.
It is though that the WRU, which made £90.5 million in income in 2019, could lose up to £60 million because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The four clubs are facing the prospect of returning ticket money for 'Judgement Day VIII' which was the Ospreys v Dragons and Scarlets v Cardiff Blues PRO14 double header due to take place at the Principality Stadium on 18 April.
There was 40,000 tickets sold for that evebnt while they could also have to return the money made from the tickets sold for the Wales v Scotland Six Nations match that was not played.
There is still a chance that World Rugby could provide some support but the Welsh clubs won't be the only ones facing major financial losses.
The organisers of the PRO14 are hopeful of a return to action behind closed doors this year which would reduce the potential clawback of television rights money from broadcasters.
Earlier this week, Leinster Rugby announced their decision to cancel season tickets for the 2020/21 season with uncertainty surrounding live rugby due to social distancing.
To add to that, the IRFU CEO Philip Browne told OTB Sport (see video below) that pay deferrals for professional players are not a 'long term solution', with pay cuts on the horizon because of the pandemic.
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