The final place in the inaugural Elite Development Competition will be decided within days, with Cardiff and Neath set to learn their fates.

Neath were originally denied a place in the EDC, the only one of 10 applicants turned down, but were granted permission to submit a second application. Cardiff, who didn't apply the first time round, put a bid in after the Welsh Rugby Union appealed for a 10th team to join for the competition to "perform at its optimum level."

WalesOnline understands an announcement is expected to be made no later than next week while an EDC planning day is being held at the Principality Stadium this Sunday, where the nine confirmed teams - Aberavon, Bridgend, Carmarthen Quins, Ebbw Vale, Llandovery, Newport, Pontypool, Swansea and RGC - will be present. The purpose of the EDC is to bridge the gap between the semi-professional arm of the game and the four professional clubs, with the competition coming under the remit of the Professional Rugby Board. The Premiership, meanwhile, is run by the Community Game Board.

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Cardiff are the favourites to be named as the final team in the EDC but Neath have previously questioned the fairness of the entry criteria. The WRU require all applicants to provide a guarantee of matching funding totalling a maximum of £315,000 for the full three-year term of the EDC licence, which could be a sticking point for Neath.

The Welsh All Blacks' financial situation has come under scrutiny, with former general manager Matty Young buying the club for £1 in the summer but inheriting significant debt. Neath's plan has been to turn the club into a Community Interest Company with five board members.

Neath are one of Welsh rugby's most famous clubs and have launched a relentless online campaign over the past week to help convince the WRU to hand them the final spot. A host of famous names including All Blacks legend Zinzan Brooke, Jonathan Davies, Shane Williams David Bishop, Lyn Jones, Xavier Rush, Mark Jones and Alix Popham, among others, have posted videos online in support of Neath's EDC application.

Should Neath miss out it would come as a big blow to the Welsh All Blacks, who would no longer be involved at the highest level of the semi-professional game and would remain in the Welsh Premiership, which will sit at the top of the community game.

After initially missing out on the EDC, Neath hit out at the WRU and the Ospreys for a lack of support.

The club said in a statement: "We owe it to you (the fans) to be transparent about the unjust decisions affecting our club. We've been denied entry to the EDC unfairly, but we're not giving up.

"Over the past seven months, we have heard your voices and we're fighting back! We're not asking for special treatment, just fairness.

"Despite obstacles from the WRU and strained relations with the Ospreys despite our best endeavours, we remain steadfast in our mission to represent our community with pride."

Whoever misses out when the final place is announced imminently is likely to be extremely unhappy with the situation.

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