ARU threatened with bankruptcy over Force axing
Cape Town - The Western Australian (WA) government has threatened to
bankrupt the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) if they don't reinstate the Force in Super Rugby.
The ARU’s decision to chop the Force has not been a popular
one, and the issue looks set to play out in the courts on multiple fronts.
Rugby Western Australia, with the support of billionaire
mining magnate Andrew Forrest, will know Wednesday whether they can appeal the
Force’s axing in the New South Wales Supreme Court.
And WA Premier Mark McGowan has written to ARU CEO Bill
Pulver to inform him the state is getting legal advice on the prospect of suing
the ARU over the Force’s axing unless the team is reinstated.
McGowen said $17 million was spent on new headquarters for
the Force and $95 million invested on redeveloping the team’s home ground nib
Stadium in Perth.
He said these hefty investments were made with an
expectation and understanding that the Force would continue to be part of the
Super Rugby tournament.
McGowen said if the court action bankrupts the ARU, it would
be their own fault.
“My ultimatum to the ARU is this - reinstate the Force or
we’ll use every tool at our disposal to get our money back,” he told AAP on
“And if that means the ARU goes bankrupt, so be it.”
Fans convened at the Force's headquarters on Sunday to
protest the decision to axe the franchise and continue the loud advocacy for
their team that they have carried through the process.
Gathered at RugbyWA HQ, supporters wore Force gear, held placards
and posted the results to social media, keen to try and catch the national
The start of the rally was pushed back, according to
attendees, as more people began to turn up to support their franchise's hopes
Forrest said the decision to axe the Force lacked financial
merit and hinted that the franchise could play elsewhere if unsuccessful in
their Supreme Court appeal.