Welsh Rugby Union chairman David Pickering admitted he hopes progress can now be made on signing a new rugby services agreement.

The four Welsh regions refused to renew the existing agreement with the WRU before the governing body's December 31 deadline.

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Disputes over funding and an exodus of top stars to France and England have underpinned the impasse between the WRU and the regional outfits.

The current deal expires on June 30, but WRU chairman Pickering is confident both parties are now closing in on a resolution.

"We are working with our regional partners," Pickering told the BBC.

"The competition structures are now in place, with Europe and the Celtic League, and I think the competition structure will help us.

"That will help increase the amount of money coming into the Welsh game, which will make us more competitive.

"We will do whatever we can to support our regions, but we cannot bankrupt the union.

"There will be a defined amount of money we have to give to our game at regional level, semi-pro level and the community game."

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