Force unsettled ahead of ARU takeover

    2016-05-25 17:49

    Perth - Western Force scrumhalf Alby Mathewson has admitted that the Perth outfit's players are unsettled ahead of the imminent Australian Rugby Union takeover, especially players who are nearing the end of their current contracts.

    The ARU is set to take over responsibility for the running of the Force, who are experiencing serious financial problems. The aim is to turn around the franchise's financial woes and ARU chief executive Bill Pulver headed to Perth earlier this week to sort out some of the final details and an agreement is expected to be signed off by next week.

    Under the new deal, the Force football programme will not be touched but senior administrators like chief executive Mark Sinderberry will report to the ARU.

    Mathewson is one of several Force players whose contracts end when the season finishes, and the former All Black said it was unsettling to be in the dark about the dealings between the ARU and the franchise.

    Force head coach Michael Foley is contracted until the end of next season but there are doubts over his future too as the team has won just twice from11 matches this season.

    "I know there's a few boys off contract, and it effects everyone differently," Mathewson told AAP.

    "The ARU talked to us a couple of days ago. Bill Pulver was over here trying to shed some light on the situation.

    "Hopefully in the next week or so there's a lot more clarity, because there's quite a few other players wondering what's going on with that sort of stuff."

    Mathewson's situation is more unique than that of his team-mates. He joined the Force as their international marquee signing, which meant he could only stay for a maximum of two years.

    The ARU granted the 30-year-old special permission to extend his deal by a further two years in 2014, and he is hopeful the same situation will occur again.

    "I've been here for four years now, so I'm pretty settled," added Mathewson.

    "But I understand the way rugby works with contracts and moving around. So I'll just have to wait and see."


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