[icWales] DAVID Moffett has admitted Welsh rugby may have to stay with nine top-flight clubs next season.
Moffett's four-team regional plan faces fierce opposition from Llanelli, Cardiff and Pontypridd, who all want a five-team option.
Llanelli have made it clear they will take legal action if the Union presses ahead with the four-team scheme.
And the other two clubs have reserved their right to do the same.
In turn, WRU chief executive Moffett is taking his own legal advice.
But he acknowledges that the threat of litigation might scupper his plans.
And this could result in the status quo, with a nine-club top-tier once again next season.
"That is certainly one of the options," he said.
"It isn't an option that anybody seriously wants to contemplate.
"And it certainly goes against what the EGM said. They wanted regional rugby to start from next season.
"The 239 clubs have given us a clear mandate for change, which we are trying to implement. But we are facing a legal challenge to what we would like to do.
"I have said previously, and I will repeat it, that I am not prepared to take a course of action that puts the WRU at risk financially. That view hasn't changed.
"We always knew that litigation was a potential risk. I outlined that to the clubs in no uncertain terms at the EGM.
"I always hoped it would not got to that point, but we have got that much closer to it now.
"It is always disappointing if you have to involve legal issues in sport, but that happens more and more these days.
"We are taking our own legal advice at the moment. I will be doing a risk analysis and taking that back to the WRU board."
Premier clubs chairman Derek King echoed Moffett's view that no-one wants the current nine-club structure to remain in place.
"That would be dreadful for the clubs and for rugby and for everyone involved," said the Bridgend chairman.
"The financial situation of the clubs is desperate and staying at nine would put us in a dreadful situation and take rugby nowhere."
Meanwhile, King confirmed that the Premier clubs have unanimously rejected a WRU move to have Llanelli chief executive Stuart Gallacher removed as the clubs' representative on the European Rugby Cup (ERC) board.
The Union felt Gallacher would have a conflict of interests given Llanelli's opposition to the proposed structural changes.But their request was thrown out by the Premier clubs.
King said: "We believe Stuart will present the clubs' views rather than his own or those of Llanelli RFC."
Gallacher said: "I am pleased that my colleagues have shown confidence in my ability to represent them. I am disappointed in the WRU's actions in questioning my integrity."
Union boss Moffett said this had not been the case.
"We haven't questioned Stuart's integrity," he said. "What the WRU board felt was that because of the stance taken by Llanelli there was a conflict of interests and that he should step aside for the period of time that discussions are ongoing with ERC."