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.