Force granted leave for appeal in Supreme Court

Ruben Hill
August 23, 2017

The Australian Rugby Union has rejected an offer of around $A50 million ($NZ54m) from billionaire mining magnate Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest to save the code and look after the financial burden of the Western Force.

Mr McGowan has threatened to sue the ARU for more than $100 million in a bid to recover money spent by the State on upgraded playing and training facilities and sponsorship for the Force.

ARU chairman Cameron Clyne and directors John Eales and Brett Robinson were among those at the meeting, while Mr Forrest was accompanied by a group including former Western Force and Wallabies player John Wellborn.

The paper reported that the government informed the ARU it was investigating undertakings guaranteeing the future of the Force, which underpinned "investment in various areas" - the redevelopment of nib Stadium in particular.

Sinderberry stressed his top priority was the Force remaining in Super Rugby - not only for his club but also for Australian rugby.

"We are at the final stages of this process and Australian Rugby's constituents have voted to reduce Australia's Super Rugby representation to four teams and we have made commitments to SANZAAR [South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina Rugby]".

It's understood that during the meeting, the ARU confirmed the future participation of WA rugby teams in an expanded National Rugby Championships competition.

Mr Forrest said while he was disappointed, there were "some positive aspects" to come out of the meeting.

The Force met the ARU in court this morning and it didn't take long for the Supreme Court to grant the West Australian body leave for appeal against the arbitration decision that went against them, allowing the governing body to move to axe the franchise.

With the Melbourne Rebels' license in the hands of the Victorian Rugby Union, meaning the ARU has no constitutional right to axe them, the Force were named earlier in the month as the team in the firing line.

Thousands of fans rallied at the Force's headquarters on Sunday to protest the ARU's decision to cull the franchise.

Force billionaire backer Andrew Forrest said at a rally on Sunday he would start his own worldwide league if the Supreme Court appeal failed. It's an embryonic idea, but one worth exploring.

"Shrinking to success is not a very well tried strategy", Sinderberry said. "So we think it would be very well received".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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