Local rugby union clubs will be hit with a new levy to help the cash-strapped Australian Rugby Union out of its perilous financial position.

All Australian clubs will be charged $200 for every senior and junior side they run.

In the RugbyWA competition, some clubs run teams in all five senior grades, under-20 and women's sides.

Junior age groups run from under-six to under-18. Some clubs have teams in all age groups and some have multiple sides in some age groups.

The money raised, expected to be around $60,000, will replace a similar amount being withdrawn by the ARU from its $200,000 funding of RugbyWA's comm.- unity rugby.

Under an earlier plan, the ARU was set to charge a higher levy, but RugbyWA officials and their counterparts in other unions argued strongly against it.

The ARU said the fee would generate money to maintain the level of grants to unions, claiming it brought the sport into line with the way other major sports were funded.

Funding has already been withdrawn from the NSW and Queensland premier competitions and ARU chief executive Bill Pulver has made changes across the board after years of over-expenditure, particularly on executive salaries.

The West Australian

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