Digby Ioane quits over pay row
Sydney - Digby Ioane says he had "no choice" but to quit the Reds after a
long-running dispute over third-party payments, but he will continue to
give his all for the side this season.
The Wallaby made the sensational decision earlier this month
to leave the Super Rugby team a year before the end of his
He told the club in writing, via his manager on April 8 that
he would not be taking up the third-year option in his deal and would
be leaving at the end of the year.
"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."
It is understood the relationship between Ioane and the
Queensland Rugby Union broke down over two separate contracting
negotiations, during which, Ioane's camp alleges, the Reds failed to
follow through with third-party payments.
The QRU disputes the allegations.
A furious Reds chief executive, Jim Carmichael, said Ioane's only choice was to go overseas if he wanted out of his contract.
"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 two-year deal with the ARU and a three-year
deal with Queensland in 2010, becoming one of Australia's highest-paid
The Reds maintain his contract with them stipulates that if he
does not renew with the ARU the only way he can get out of his third
year in Queensland is by heading overseas.
Ioane would not be drawn on the issue but insisted his
decision was not aimed at hurting the club, for which he has played
almost 60 games over six seasons.
"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."
The Reds appeared to deny a report on Monday that Ioane was
leaving the club. McKenzie said he did not deal with contract
negotiations and, as far as he knew, the 27-year-old wings departure
Ioane said he spoke to McKenzie on Monday morning, before the Reds' noon press conference, and confirmed his intentions.
"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 wing."