Bill Pulver quits after ARU axes the Force

Josh Elliott Editor

By Josh Elliott, Josh Elliott is a Roar Editor

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    ARU CEO Bill Pulver is set to quit his position following today’s announcement that the Western Force will be cut from the Super Rugby competition.

    Pulver will remain in his position until the board finds a replacement, then, he will step down.

    “Incredibly tough decision to terminate the Western Force license from the 2018 Super Rugby season,” Pulver said.

    “I’d like to acknowledge Matt Hodgson, Mark Sinderberry and the entire WA Rugby community for all of their commitment and hard work.

    “I have made the decision to step down as CEO once the board finds someone to replace the position.

    “It’s been a tough year for Rugby. It’s a good time for a renewed leadership. A clean state. A new generation of Rugby.

    “I have enormous sympathy for everyone in WA. Simply, this is the right decision for Super Rugby. We need to get the balance right.

    “I am very very sorry for all the people affected by this in WA.

    “Sports is a difficult business and we have had a difficult year. This means it is the right time for me to step down and create renewal.

    “We will do the utmost to form the right relationships to continue the development in WA.

    “All contracted players will have their contracts honoured.

    “We did an exhaustive analysis, and at the end of the day the decision to cut the Force came down to the financial and performance aspects.

    “Teams like the Wallaroos and community rugby are not getting the support they need. We need to give them more financial support.

    “We need to support the areas of the game that are growing, they deserve much more.

    “It’s been a great privilege being the CEO of Australian Rugby Union.”

    The decision comes after a months-long saga in which Pulver and the ARU have ummed and ahhed over whether to cut the Force or the Melbourne Rebels to reduce the number of Super Rugby sides in Australia.

    It was announced as far back as April that the Australian Super Rugby contingent would be reduced to four teams ahead of 2018, and at the time it was said that a decision on which team to cut would be made in a matter of days.

    Instead, it has taken months, and the final decision has prompted extensive fan outrage as many believe that the Melbourne Rebels instead should have been removed from the competition.

    Josh Elliott
    Josh Elliott

    Josh Elliott may be The Roar's Weekend Editor, but at heart he's just a rusted-on North Melbourne tragic with a penchant for pun headlines - and also abnormal alliteration, assuredly; assuming achievability. He once finished third in a hot chilli pie eating contest. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshElliott_29 and listen to him on The Roar's AFL Podcast.

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    The Crowd Says (109)

    • Roar Rookie

      August 11th 2017 @ 5:37pm
      piru said | August 11th 2017 @ 5:37pm | ! Report

      Don’t let the door hit you in the ar$e

      • Roar Guru

        August 11th 2017 @ 6:07pm
        The Saint said | August 11th 2017 @ 6:07pm | ! Report

        This is a sad time Australian rugby. No team should have been cut.

      • August 11th 2017 @ 6:10pm
        Wozza said | August 11th 2017 @ 6:10pm | ! Report

        No, make sure it hits you in the face!

      • August 11th 2017 @ 6:14pm
        Bill said | August 11th 2017 @ 6:14pm | ! Report

        Shouldn’t take long to gets replacement. Plenty of experts on this site

    • August 11th 2017 @ 5:38pm
      Johnny J-Dog said | August 11th 2017 @ 5:38pm | ! Report

      Cut and run. Literally.

      • August 12th 2017 @ 4:08pm
        Ex force fan said | August 12th 2017 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

        Pulver’s quotes:

        February 2013, on his first visit to Perth after his appointment.

        “No chance in the world that there will not be a Western Force.

        “We are 150 per cent committed to the franchises that we have. The future development of rugby, unquestionably in my mind, will involve the Perth team.

        “The five franchises are non-negotiable. I don’t think I can make that any clearer. It is crystal clear in my mind there will always be five franchises.”

        March 2016, after talks with RugbyWA and the State Government.

        “I would be very confident in telling you that the Western Force are going to be a successful part of the Perth sporting scene for a long, long time.

        “I still am very much a supporter of a national footprint for Super Rugby and you do not want to do anything that’s going to have any negative on the local community engagement.”

        November 2016, on the Own The Force scheme to buy back their license from the ARU and become financially independent.

        “If our Super Rugby clubs were put in a fundamentally stronger position financially, that would influence the decision. The dialogue that’s going on out west is incredibly relevant.”


    • August 11th 2017 @ 5:41pm
      riddler said | August 11th 2017 @ 5:41pm | ! Report

      his position had become completely untenable.

      an embarrassment the whole process was.

      i would imagine that there might be a few other heads to role in the aru shop.

      • August 11th 2017 @ 6:39pm
        Adsa said | August 11th 2017 @ 6:39pm | ! Report

        The whole board and chairman as well Riddler, very sad day for Australian Rugby.

    • August 11th 2017 @ 5:45pm
      TT said | August 11th 2017 @ 5:45pm | ! Report

      Absolute muppets!

      Comment from The Roar’s iPhone app.

    • August 11th 2017 @ 5:46pm
      Jimbo81 said | August 11th 2017 @ 5:46pm | ! Report

      I feel bad for rugby but we know it can’t get any worse than this and from here we will re-build and we can only get stronger.

      • August 11th 2017 @ 6:24pm
        In Brief said | August 11th 2017 @ 6:24pm | ! Report

        We can and will get a lot weaker, due to this decision

      • August 11th 2017 @ 6:30pm
        Art Vanderlay said | August 11th 2017 @ 6:30pm | ! Report

        You’re being a little optimistic imagining that things can’t get worse

      • August 11th 2017 @ 11:40pm
        RobL said | August 11th 2017 @ 11:40pm | ! Report


    • August 11th 2017 @ 5:47pm
      Canetragic said | August 11th 2017 @ 5:47pm | ! Report

      Sooo – makes a right hash of things over a period of time, is part of this unhappy decision, then resigns. Leaving someone else to make it work/clean up the mess? Doesn’t seem very honourable or professional to me.

      He’s been a key part of creating this situation. Shouldn’t he be accountable making it work?

      • August 11th 2017 @ 6:32pm
        Art Vanderlay said | August 11th 2017 @ 6:32pm | ! Report

        It might mean that he was against the decision?

        • Roar Rookie

          August 11th 2017 @ 6:44pm
          piru said | August 11th 2017 @ 6:44pm | ! Report

          Wouldn’t he have left before then?

      • August 11th 2017 @ 7:02pm
        Trevor Robertson said | August 11th 2017 @ 7:02pm | ! Report

        Understand your sentiment – but he’s done enough damage.

      • August 11th 2017 @ 8:51pm
        Boomeranga said | August 11th 2017 @ 8:51pm | ! Report

        Apart from the Super Rugby decision, which is a decision of which piece of corn to pluck from the turd …

        I think he was a good CEO.

        The corn from the turd decision has killed him.

        • Roar Guru

          August 11th 2017 @ 9:55pm
          Train Without A Station said | August 11th 2017 @ 9:55pm | ! Report

          Not necessarily good.

          But probably close to as good as was actually possible in the role.

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