The Australian Rugby Union's new arrangements with the Western Force were confirmed on Friday, with the Force's rugby program to be integrated into the ARU's High Performance Unit under a new alliance agreement.
It’s been well documented in recent times the struggles the Force have encountered both on and off the field and financial challenges became too much for the ARU to ignore.
While reports had even gone to extremes of suggesting a relocation of the Force, the ARU is committed to keeping the Force in Perth and in Super Rugby.
“RugbyWA and the Western Force are not alone in their challenges to remain viable as a professional sports entity in Australia,” ARU CEO Bill Pulver said.
“Numerous teams across several codes are facing the same environment across professional sport and the ARU has been looking at ways to create a more efficient and effective way to run our Super Rugby businesses.
“The ARU and RugbyWA have collectively created a model which we believe will be more sustainable for our Super Rugby organisations in Australia.
“Ultimately the alliance aims to deliver financial sustainability and improved high performance outcomes for the Western Force.”
Pulver said it was important to maintain the Western Force’s identity throughout this alliance.
“The other really important outcome is that the Western Force will continue to be deeply entrenched in the Perth community. They will continue to have a brand which is unique to them.”
Players and professional rugby staff at the Force will all answer into the ARU, effectively becoming emloyees of the overarching organisation.
Current RugbyWA CEO Mark Sinderberry will continue in his role but will report into both the ARU and RugbyWA boards.
The RugbyWA board will continue to function as normal from a community perspective, to help grow the grassroots side of the game.