Rebels throw 'law' book at ARU
SUPER RUGBY REVAMP: The Melbourne Rebels finally voiced their disappointment against the Australian Rugby Union, following the decision to axe one of the Australian Super Rugby teams from the competition.
The ARU announced that either the Melbourne Rebels or the Western Force would be cut from next year's Super Rugby competition - in an effort to reduce the five Australian teams to just four.
The criteria for axing a team was based on financial and on-field performance.
However, in a strongly-worded statement Rebels deny the right of ARU to “cut or chop” the franchise from the competition.
Melbourne Rebels Rugby Union expressed that they were disappointed in the manner in which the matter has been managed and have immediately called on the ARU to publicly state that MRRU can not and is not being ‘cut or chopped’ from the Super Rugby Competition.
MRRU further advise the public that ARU had no right to say it could do this or to ‘request the Melbourne Rebels to ‘make its case’.
The statement further explained the Union's legal position in the possible cut and stated that ARU has no legal right to revoke the Union's Super Rugby licence.
"We unequivocally reject that the ARU has any ability to 'chop' or 'cut' the Melbourne Rebels Super Rugby licence.
"Any representation by the ARU, including its Chairman [Cameron Clyne], to that effect is legally incorrect and in complete conflict with the constitution of the ARU.
"The ARU’s continued use of these terms and perpetuation of this myth continues to cause significant damage to MRRU and its players and staff," the statement read.
It further expressed its disappointment in ARU's handling of the situation: "Despite being advised of its inability to 'chop' MRRU, the ARU proceeded down this path thereby knowingly causing significant additional damage to MRRU – its players, coaches and stakeholders.
"MRRU is steadfast in its stance that the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) does not have the legal right to ‘cut’ MRRU from the competition and that MRRU is in full compliance with the requirements of its Super Rugby Participation Deed.
"MRRU will continue to perform all of its responsibilities to the Australian Rugby Union under its licence, and fully expects the Australian Rugby Union to do the same,"
"MRRU notes and is very disappointed to hear and read statements that the board and senior management of the ARU did not believe for many years in the five-team model and did not believe that model was financially viable. MRRU notes that this concern was not conveyed to Imperium Sports Management prior to its acquisition of MRRU despite the full board and management of the ARU having the opportunity to do so,"
Rebels went onto explained that after the whole debacle they seek compensation.
"Patently through no fault of our own MRRU has suffered significant damage (financial, reputational, commercial and personal) by the ARU’s handling of this whole process and its unnecessary public statements and actions.
"Given these actions, MRRU has notified the ARU of its intention to seek compensation and at this time has reserved all rights,"
To complicate proceedings more, ARU owned Western Force have already taken legal action against after their failed meeting with ARU.