Ioane's Reds exit a 'business matter'

Tue, 23 Apr 2013 07:19
Large digby ioane h s Large digby ioane ball Large digby ioane reds run

Wallabies wing Digby Ioane is set to leave the Reds and head overseas at the end of the year following a long-running pay dispute.

Wallabies wing Digby Ioane is set to leave the Reds and head overseas at the end of the year following a long-running pay dispute.

Ioane still has another year on his contract with the Queensland franchise, but is likely to move overseas when his national contract with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) expires.

The star wing told the Sydney Morning Herald that the matter is "all business" and stressed that he has no other issues with the Reds.

"It's all a business matter, that's why I'm leaving. I had no choice," Ioane said. "I've been thinking about it for the last six or seven months. It started last year . . . Sadly, it has come to the stage where I have to look somewhere else so I can look after myself. I believe in loyalty but there's times when you can't trust anyone."

According to the Australian newspaper the pay dispute centres around third-party payments which the Ioane camp claims were not made, prompting him to confirm his intention to leave in writing earlier this month.

Reds chief executive Jim Carmichael denied that the Reds owe Ioane any money, and made it clear that the only way to settle the matter finally would be to take it to court.

"I have written to him three times legally, Digby Ioane is not owed money by Queensland Rugby," Carmichael said. "I don't know how many times I have to say that. I don't care what he says, I don't care what his manager says. If he disputes that, then you have got [the courts]. Take it and challenge it."

Ioane signed a lucrative two-year deal with the ARU and a three-year contract with the Reds in 2010, and as a result the only way he can leave the franchise early would be to head overseas.

Ioane said that he had confirmed his intentions to Reds coach Ewen McKenzie on Monday, and made it clear that he held no ill-feelings towards the franchise.

"I actually spoke to 'Link' [McKenzie] front-on, and I told him that it was going to be my last year," Ioane said. "You've got to tell your coaches what is going to happen . . . You don't want the Reds to struggle again to look for another winger."

"What's going on business-wise, I leave that to my manager," he said. "I'm the type of person who would do anything for the Reds. They've been so good to me. I'll never regret anything.

"I've enjoyed my footy. We've won a title and I'm hoping to win it again for the Reds and especially for [head coach Ewen] McKenzie because it's his last year as well," added Ioane.

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