ARU 'insolvent in two years' with five teams

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The ARU says it would have become insolvent by the end of 2019, in documents released on Tuesday afternoon.

The ARU released ‘supporting documentation’ to explain their decision to cut the Force, a move that became all but a formality on Tuesday after the Supreme Court dismissed Rugby WA’s appeal against last month’s arbitration.

The documents state that by the end of the third quarter of 2019, the ARU would have become insolvent with five teams in place, and would be in a significantly worse position in keeping the Force over the Rebels, with uncertainty over the Own The Force campaign and a government sponsorship deal in WA.

The ARU has suggested it would have been insolvent by the end of 2019. Photo: ARU documents


The ARU released its own financial modelling. Photo: ARUA long-term agreement with the Victorian government, running through to the 2025, of an undisclosed value, proved the key to the Rebels’ best case scenario, the documents read.


Numbers released by the ARU though did back reports that the Rebels have been the beneficiary of more unplanned funding since 2013, some $19.3 million compared to the Force’s $7.7 million, though modelling assumed the surviving franchise would not need support from 2018.

ARU chairman Cameron Clyne said earlier on Tuesday that Andrew Forrest’s $50 million offer for grassroots investment had simply come too late to change their decision, with the Force the only possible option to cut by the time the meeting came.

These documents echoed those statements, and explained that a Brumbies-Rebels merger would not have been possible due to an unwillingness to break up Australia’s most historically successful franchise as well as a lack of success generally when it comes to sporting mergers.

Charts also compared the Wallabies and Super Rugby contributions of each franchise and state, with not entirely dissimilar numbers in Victoria and WA.

The ARU confirmed it would continue to back a Perth NRC team, as well as a number of other representative teams in various competitions.

Read the full documentation here.