'Twiggy' demands that ARU boss quits

Wed, 30 Aug 2017 07:47
Large andrew forrest 800

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Mining magnate Andrew Twiggy Forrest calls for Australian Rugby Union Chairman Cameron Clyne to resign after the Western Force were axed from the Super Rugby competition.

Forrest, a heavyweight backer of the Western Force's parent body RugbyWA, said he had come into possession of legal advice sent to the ARU board in February stating the Force was the best team to cut because the legal risk was low.

He added that the document indicated the ARU made the decision to dump the team, rather than Melbourne Rebels or Brumbies, back then and the governing body saying it was considering all options up until this month was "a charade".

"It shows clearly that in late February this year, the advice was received and taken to cut the Western Force for no other reason apart from legal advice," said Forrest, who had reportedly offered Aus$50 million (US$39 million) to support Australian rugby if the Force were saved.

"The Western Force was set up to be ambushed. It was going to be bullied into submission.

"I call on Cameron Clyne to resign," Forrest demanded at the press conference held on Wednesday.  

The document, supplied by Forrest to the media, suggested axing either the Brumbies or Rebels without cause would constitute an unlawful termination and the risks were high.

But for the ARU-owned Force, it said there was "no legal obligation" to retain the franchise, with the legal risk low.

Australia had to cut one of its five Super Rugby teams as the sprawling trans-continental competition slims down from 18 sides to 15 next year.

The ARU announced the Force's removal in early August, saying it could not sustain five Super teams financially. The club last week won a right to appeal.

ARU chief Cameron Clyne rejected claims Wednesday that the decision to axe Western Force from Super Rugby had been made in February and dragging out the process had been "a charade".

Clyne said a decision was only made on August 11.

"For the record, RugbyWA has been provided several opportunities to put its best business case for the Western Force to the ARU board, from April 10 right up until our final request for this information on August 2, 2017," he said in a statement.

"Andrew, in his press conference, referred to a document or documents which indicated that a decision had been made to remove the Western Force in February.

"This was not the case and there are no documents which contain this information,"

Clyne said the legal risk was only one element taken into consideration.

Furthermore, Clyne reaffirmed that Forrest’s offer of support came too late in the process for it to be a factor in the Board’s decision.

"Andrew’s offer, which was incredibly generous, was not made until after the Board’s decision had been made,"

Western Force joined Super Rugby in 2006, but have never made the competition's finals series.

Source: Agence France-Presse

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 24 November 2017
Cheetahs v Edinburgh 17h30 Bloemfontein
Ulster v Treviso 19h05 Kingspan Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Connacht 19h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Leinster v Dragons 19h35 RDS Stadium
Newcastle Falcons v Gloucester 19h45 Kingston Park
Sat, 25 November 2017
Leicester Tigers v Worcester Warriors 12h45 Welford Road
Bath v Harlequins 12h45 Recreation Ground
Italy v South Africa 13h00 Rome
Scotland v Australia 14h30 Edinburgh
England v Samoa 15h00 Twickenham
Wales v New Zealand 17h15 Cardiff
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints 17h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Ireland v Argentina 17h30 Aviva Stadium
France v Japan 19h00 Paris
Sun, 26 November 2017
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Liberty Stadium
Kings v Scarlets 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Zebre v Munster 13h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Saracens v Exeter Chiefs 15h00 Allianz Park
London Irish v Wasps 15h00 Madejski Stadium
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28