RugbyWA goes into voluntary administration

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    The bitter fallout from the Western Force’s axing has hit a new low with RugbyWA forced into voluntary administration because it can’t pay Rugby Australia’s legal costs.

    RugbyWA claims it simply hasn’t the cash to settle the bill.

    It also owes $1.14 million to the WA government for the 2009 upgrade of nib Stadium as well as an unspecified amount to law firm Lavan.

    But it’s RA (formerly the ARU)’s pursuit of legal costs stemming from the arbitration and Supreme Court fights with the Western Force that have brought RugbyWA to its knees after the national body won both battles.

    It’s believed RA’s total legal fees associated with axing the Super Rugby franchise are about $1.7 million of which RA is said to want RugbyWA to pay about $900,00.

    RugbyWA, funded largely by billionaire miner Andrew Forrest, offered RA about $500,000 to settle.

    However that’s been rejected and with subsequent negotiations breaking down, RugbyWA has taken the drastic step of calling in advisory and investment firm KordaMentha Restructuring.

    Despite the dramatic turn of events, it’s highly unlikely RugbyWA will fold.

    KordaMentha administrator Scott Langdon hopes to raise enough capital to hand back control to the RugbyWA board before Christmas and will meet creditors, including RA, within the next fortnight.

    After that, the firm will have about a month to raise enough money and renegotiate a settlement figure for the costs.

    In the unlikely event RugbyWA still can’t meet its debts, it will become extinct.

    “If those proposals are not acceptable to creditors, then there is a potential chance that we could wind up rugby in Western Australia,” Langdon said.

    “But the sole purpose of the voluntary administration process is to rehabilitate and reconstruct the balance sheet so we provide a platform for the future.”

    RugbyWA chairman Tony Howarth says RA knew all along RugbyWA wasn’t in a position to pay the legal costs.

    “I think they’re very aware of what they’re doing,” he said.

    “In our mind they’ve been quite purposeful in what they’re doing. They were certainly very purposeful in removing the Western Force.

    “Some feel it’s been an abandonment of rugby in WA.”

    RugbyWA’s woes come at an awkward time for Forrest, who is trying to negotiate with RA about approving his new competition – the Indo Pacific Rugby Championship.

    © AAP 2017