Money the primary reason for axing the Force



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    The Australian Rugby Union says financial reasons were behind their decision to cut the Western Force rather than the Melbourne Rebels from the Super Rugby competition.

    On a dramatic day, ARU boss Bill Pulver announced he would stand down as soon as a replacement could be found.

    Pulver has had to deal with plenty of negative comment after his organisation announced on April 10 one of the local five Super rugby teams would be cut.

    “It has been a harrowing process so my sense is it’s a good time for renewal, said Pulver whose five-year term expired next February.

    Rugby Union Players’ Association boss Ross Xenos described the decision as the “darkest day in the history of Australian Rugby”.

    The announcement came following the result of arbitration involving the ARU and Rugby WA, though neither side wanted to divulge the findings of last week’s two-day hearing

    RugbyWA will take out an injunction against the ARU’s decision.

    If the Force win a right of appeal, they will take the case to the Supreme Court.

    RugbyWA will also consider mounting legal action relating to the circumstances which led it to enter into the ‘Alliance’ agreement last year with the ARU.

    Asked why the Force asked were cut rather than the Rebels, Pulver said: “We did an exhaustive analysis, a massive spreadsheet on all the variables that went into this decision.

    “Some of them community-based, some of them high-performance based and frankly at the end of the day the best decision for Australian rugby was to remove the Western Force.

    “Financially it made the most sense.

    Billionaire Andrew Forrest, who on Friday described the ARU’s decision as “retrograde” and “illogical”, has reaffirmed his pledge to do everything within his powers to save the Force.

    ARU chairman Cameron Clyne said while the Force had run an enthusiastic and public campaign it would have been wrong to assume there wasn’t the same level of enthusiasm in Melbourne.

    “There has been a lot of public support and a lot of genuine financial support from people in Melbourne that have come out,” he said

    ‘Whilst we do appreciate people like Andrew getting involved it came very late in the piece.

    “Part of the issue was the Force were virtually bankrupt and had to be bailed out.”

    Clyne said he still expected two to three Australian teams to lose money next year.

    Every Australian team lost more than they won in 2017 and for the second-straight year no local side made the semi-finals.

    The Rebels won just one game, while the Force never made the finals in 12 attempts.

    Clyne felt having four competitive teams would give Australian more bargaining power in having a say over the controversial competition format.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (28)

    • August 12th 2017 @ 9:00am
      Redderthankevin said | August 12th 2017 @ 9:00am | ! Report

      The only team that should have been culled was the waratahs. Limited community engagement is the reason. Nobody likes them. They are an embarrassment. I was in Ipswich the othe other day. I had a beer at the local as you do. I was talking to a bloke and when he saw my reds tattoos he started telling me how much he hated the waratahs. For a side to make such a level headed bloke such as myself and my new friend actively hate a rugby side is wrong. They are no good. Damn tahs

    • August 12th 2017 @ 10:24am
      Mal said | August 12th 2017 @ 10:24am | ! Report

      It would be so much more palatable if the “exhaustive” spreadsheet was made available, as this whole process has not been transparent. It also lacks community engagement.

      • Roar Guru

        August 13th 2017 @ 11:55am
        Timbo (L) said | August 13th 2017 @ 11:55am | ! Report

        Looks like Stooke has released the spreadsheet.

        It is titled:
        More money for Randwick Book 1 “Excuses to axe the Force”

      • Roar Guru

        August 14th 2017 @ 10:47am
        Train Without A Station said | August 14th 2017 @ 10:47am | ! Report


        When did the ARU ever actually say the decision was made on the basis that the Rebels had better finances than the Force?

        They said it was based on a number of factors including financial considerations, which is true. That consideration is the retained revenue with less expenses.

    • August 12th 2017 @ 11:12am
      Jibba Jabba said | August 12th 2017 @ 11:12am | ! Report

      pulver, clyne aru = incompetent liars – pure and simple.

    • August 12th 2017 @ 7:41pm
      Bravo said | August 12th 2017 @ 7:41pm | ! Report

      There is something very fishy about this decision and I am thinking it looks like it has the owner of a pay tv company behind it.

    • August 13th 2017 @ 12:14pm
      Ex force fan said | August 13th 2017 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

      It cannot be money because then the Rebels would be cut. The Rebels are owned by the penniless VRU, with no main sponsor and will be dependent of ARU funding, while the Force has more than $8 million in the bank and a billionaire that will cover all operating losses. The Force is the only franchise that does not have to be bailed put by the ARU.

      Disgusting decision that was never supported by merits.

      • August 13th 2017 @ 1:29pm
        Sheikh said | August 13th 2017 @ 1:29pm | ! Report

        Ah, but it is a financial decision. The ARU wanted money to spend on the Shute Shield grassroots and by cutting the Force they have $6 million they can throw at the Shute Shield grassroots.

        OK, all the other franchises get more money from the ARU, but they couldn’t politically cut the Waratahs, Reds or Brumbies, and couldn’t actually cut the Rebels, so this is the only way they can be seen to invest extra money in the Shute Shield grassroots.

        I mean, where else are they going to find $6 million? They couldn’t make savings in the ARU operating budget ($13 million) which is vastly higher than their counterparts in NZ, SA, England, France, etc, could they?

        • August 13th 2017 @ 2:15pm
          Ben said | August 13th 2017 @ 2:15pm | ! Report

          Exactly right, Sheikh. Knocking back a billionaire’s plea to allow him to ensure the Force cost the ARU nothing ain’t about $$$. I love the Wallabies and only want the best for our national team and the other provinces, but if RugbyWA and Twiggy sink the entire organisation in attempt to put WA back into an equitable position, I won’t be shedding a tear. The EARU will get everything they deserve. Spineless (b)ankers.

          • August 13th 2017 @ 10:23pm
            Train Without A Station said | August 13th 2017 @ 10:23pm | ! Report

            They didn’t knock it back.

            He offered it after contractual agreements were already made for 2018.

        • August 13th 2017 @ 2:30pm
          Fionn said | August 13th 2017 @ 2:30pm | ! Report

          The ARUs operating budget is higher than that of France and England?!

          • Roar Guru

            August 13th 2017 @ 9:06pm
            Train Without A Station said | August 13th 2017 @ 9:06pm | ! Report

            No. It’s not.

            And also to compare to the NZRU it is higher by the same margin as the average wage. Unsurprising as wages are the largest expense.

    • August 13th 2017 @ 12:33pm
      Jibba Jabba said | August 13th 2017 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

      Which is why the lying cheating never released a written criteria..
      According to their apologist, theorist (never any real evidence) and undercover agent and 3rd grader twassie something was initially muttered about financial reasons (which even then highlighted the rebels) then when the Western Force community got it all together and destroyed that criteria !! they moved the ‘still hidden” goal posts.

      Its a political decision pure and simple, nothing to do with the rights and wrongs and to that end they have destroyed a rugby community…