Australian Rugby Is On The Verge Of Collapsing
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Australian rugby is heading off a financial cliff and faces collapse as the inevitable axing of of a Super Rugby side becomes more complex.
The ARU reached an agreement with SANZAAR officials a number of weeks back that one of their five Super Rugby franchises would leave the competition. The problem is this was not discussed with the clubs, with neither of teams in line to be cut not willing to cooperate.
Both the Western Force and the Melbourne Rebels are refusing to give up their spot without a fight. A decision of the arbitration case between the ARU and WA Rugby will be made next week, but the Force will continue to fight regardless of the outcome.
Meanwhile, the Melbourne Rebels’ private owner Andrew Cox has sold his license to Victorian Rugby Union in a quite deal that could have massive consequences. The ARU were unaware of any deal but it’s clear the Rebels have been given some potentially clever legal advice.
The ARU, who must cut one of the two teams to save $18 million over the next three years – a figure that would send them broke if they had to pay it. If the ARU cannot axe a team, chief executive Bill Pulver and chairman Cameron Clyne would likely have to resign, but the financial problems would remain,
In their understandable bid to save themselves, the Force and Rebels could destroy the ARU as a whole. Australian rugby has never faced such a serious crisis.