ARU reject Twiggy's money
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Australian Rugby Union (ARU) have stick to their decision to axe Western Force from the Super rugby 2018 tournament despite Andre 'Twiggy' Forrest's lucrative financial offer.
ARU board representatives the chairman Cameron Clyne, deputy chairman Brett Robinson as well as director and former Wallabies captain John Eales met up with the Western Australian businessman Andrew Forrest on Tuesday to discuss the Western Force's Super Rugby future.
According to the New Zealand online magazine Stuff, during the three-hour meeting, Forrest ensured ARU that there will be no financial risk if the Force remains in the tournament.
The billionaire offered $A50 million (ZAR522 million) to help ARU's financial burden with SANZAAR.
However, ARU's obligation towards SANZAAR – to axed one Australian side from next season competition – have made it impossible for the Union to reverse its decision.
ARU Chairman, Cameron Clyne said: “We had a long discussion with Andrew [on Tuesday] and have provided in detail the position of the ARU and the factors that have led to our decision to discontinue the Western Force Super Rugby licence.
“We were genuinely appreciative of Andrew’s generous offer to back the Western Force and Australian Rugby, however, given the position we are in we are unable to work towards retaining five teams in Super Rugby.
“We are at the final stages of this process and Australian Rugby’s constituents have voted to reduce Australia’s Super Rugby representation to four teams and we have made commitments to SANZAAR," he added.
Despite ARU's inability to budge, the meeting was not all in vain.
According to AAP, the ARU have agreed to help Forrest create an Asian rugby competition for the Force to participate in.
AAP stated that Forrest's representative released a statement which read: "The ARU committed to working with the Western Force ... to develop a new international competition.
"This will be based in Western Australia, with a focus firmly on the Indo Pacific region and a time zone that WA shares,”
Thus far, it seems the disagreement between the two parties is still far from resolved.
Earlier this month, the Perth franchise's parent body, Rugby Western Australia, lodged the appeal request with the New South Wales Supreme Court against ARU.
Rugby WA is expected to find out on Wednesday whether it will be granted the right to appeal the ARU's decision in the NSW Supreme Court.
Commenting on the appeal Clyne said: "Our decision to discontinue the Western Force Super Rugby licence is subject to appeal and we await the outcome of this process before making any further comment on the matter,"
Source: AAP & Stuff.co.nz