The Citizen (KZN)

Force take legal action over axe

- Sydney

– Rugby WA has launched legal action against the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) in a bid to keep threatened Super Rugby franchise Western Force afloat.

A writ against the governing body was lodged on Monday, Western Australia’s (WA) rugby body said, notifying the ARU of the intention to apply for an injunction against any plan to revoke the Perth-based team’s licence. It followed meetings between the two sides that either the Force or Melbourne Rebels would be culled from the revamped 2018 southern hemisphere tournament.

Rugby WA called talks with the ARU “unsatisfac­tory”, saying they highlighte­d “that the terms of the assessment and process being used to evaluate ourselves and the Rebels were inconsiste­nt and inequitabl­e”.

It added that “we felt in order to protect our position it was necessary to issue legal proceeding­s to protect our rights under the Alliance Agreement”.

Under the agreement struck last year, Force players and profession­al staff became employees of the ARU after the governing body helped bail out the club, which was suffering financial problems. According to the West Australian newspaper, the Force have a clause in the agreement that commits both parties to a current broadcast deal that ends in 2020.

The growing backlash follows Super Rugby’s governing body Sanzaar announcing on Sunday that two South African teams and one from Australia would be axed, streamlini­ng the 18-team competitio­n to a three-conference 15team format. – AFP

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