Force take their case to the court
SUPER RUGBY REVAMP: The Western Force have taken legal action against the Australian Rugby Union for the decision to put them on a short-list to be axed from Super Rugby.
Rugby Western Australian representatives had a meeting with the ARU board on Monday.
ARU Chief operating officer Rob Clarke and chief financial officer Todd Day flew to Perth to meet up with the Western Force, while ARU Chief Executive Bill Pulver will fly to Melbourne on Wednesday to meet Rebels owner Andrew Cox.
At Monday's meeting, the Force officials highlighted the fact that the terms of the assessment and process being used to evaluate the Western Force's axing were inconsistent and inequitable.
According to the Force's statement: "The outcome of the meeting failed to address the responsibilities that exist in the Alliance Agreement between RugbyWA and the ARU.
"We felt in order to protect our position [in Super Rugby] it was necessary to issue legal proceedings to protect our rights under the Alliance Agreement.
"The [franchise] will work with their partners, staff and Government to develop the best possible business case to take to the ARU,"
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the ARU's AU$4.8-million takeover of the franchise in 2016 and the creation of the Alliance Agreement in June complicate matters.
Under the Alliance Agreement, the Force's players and professional staff become ARU employees, while RugbyWA continued to run the community game and the Future Force development program. Furthermore, the agreement signed by the parties meant that the Force are guaranteed Super Rugby status until the end of 2020.
If the ARU' goes ahead with the decision to axe the Force, it will violate the Alliance Agreement.
The privately owned Melbourne Rebels are the second team short-listed to be axed.
The Melbourne Rebels have responded to ARU's announcement via their website.
"It’s business as usual for the Melbourne Rebels despite Monday’s announcement by the ARU," melbournerebels.com stated.
"While disappointed by the prolonged decision-making process, the franchise is solely focused on Saturday’s Australian derby against the Brumbies at AAMI Park.
"The club is increasingly frustrated by the impact this process has had on Rebels players, staff, members, fans and partners and the club wishes the management of the issue had been better handled by SANZAAR or the ARU,"
* Additional reporting by smh.com.au