Andrew Forrest reveals details of new rugby competition, ARU responds

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    The first concrete details of Andrew Forrest’s much-hyped Indo Pacific Rugby Championship have emerged, with the billionaire going public with his offer of the new competition to the ARU.

    Forrest first mooted the creation of the competition following the ARU’s decision to axe the Western Force, but prior to today’s announcement, details surrounding the tournament have been scant.

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    The offer, outlined by a statement released by Forrest and his Minderoo Group this morning, includes a six-team competition to run after the Super Rugby season, as well as major sponsorship of the NRC starting immediately.

    Under the proposal, players who line up in the new competition would be contracted to the IPRC, taking away a significant financial burden from the ARU and other governing bodies involved in the tournament. Australian players in the IPRC would be eligible to play for the Wallabies, and the offer also mentions incorporating “exciting innovations related to men’s and women’s sevens rugby.”

    The teams involved in the competition are yet to be revealed, however a wide range of countries were listed as possible markets for the IPRC, including Australia, Singapore, Samoa, Fiji, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia.

    “We have made significant progress this week,” Forrest said.

    “We are now consulting with sovereign governments, international broadcasters, media organisations and other global businesses, with great interest in the Indo Pacific, as well as Australia’s leading coaches and players, both here and overseas.”

    The statement released by Minderoo claimed Forrest’s offer would help “reinstate Australia as the world rugby leader and enhance the country’s opportunity to win the Rugby World Cup in Japan 2019”, as well as providing pathways for all involved in the competitions – players, coaches, referees and administrators – to develop their skills.

    The ARU responded to Forrest’s offer, saying they were in “collaborative discussions” with the billionaire, but not revealing the progress of those talks.

    “We do not wish to comment on the specifics of any proposed new competitions while these discussions are at a preliminary stage,” ARU chairman Cameron Clyne said.

    “ARU remains committed to maintaining a strong rugby presence in Western Australia and will explore all options in this regard.”

    Despite that, preparations for the competition are supposedly well underway, with pre-season scheduling having already commenced.

    “This is for all Australians who love our diversity of sport and the game of rugby,” said Forrest. 

    “For all who may have thought that Australian rugby was either dying or would not include them. This competition, and our offer of IPRC – ARU collaboration with Super Rugby and the Wallabies, is for them.”

    Daniel Jeffrey
    Daniel Jeffrey

    Daniel is Editor of The Roar. You can catch him on Twitter @_d_jeffrey.

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