The Melbourne Rebels are confident their future as a Super Rugby team is all but secured, with the Victorian Rugby Union confirming it now controls all shares in the Melbourne Rebels.
As RUGBY.com.au reported on Friday night, Imperium Sports Management Managing Director Andrew Cox transferred the shares to the Victorian governing body for $1.
That secures the future of the organisation and will no doubt create serious headaches for the ARU, should arbitration with the Force conducted last week come back with a decision in the WA franchise’s favour.
In a statement issued on Sunday afternoon, Cox said he was excited to secure the future of the Super Rugby club that his organisation purchased in July 2015.
“It’s exciting for the Melbourne Rebels and local rugby that, with the VRU, we’ve been able to secure the future of the Super Rugby club,” Cox said.
“Importantly this will strengthen the player pathway for aspiring talented Victorian players. We acknowledge the work of Tim North, President of the VRU and the VRU Board.
“After two rewarding, productive, and at times challenging seasons, Imperium Sports Management is pleased to hand over control of the Melbourne Rebels to ensure their future is in the hands of the Victorian Rugby community.
“We are pleased that this secures the future of the Melbourne Rebels in Melbourne.” - VRU president Tim North.
Rebels CEO Baden Stephenson thanked Cox and ISM for their work during “this incredibly challenging period”.
“The contribution of Imperium Sports Management, led by Andrew, to the Melbourne Rebels and Victorian rugby over the last two years can’t be underestimated,” Stephenson said.
“During this incredibly challenging period, we’ve worked closely with Andrew and the Imperium team to ensure that we have built a strong squad for 2018 with the re-signing and recruitment of some great players to deliver the club some much-deserved success.”
An interim board has been established as the organisation prepares to appoint a fulltime board ahead of the 2018 season.