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Thread: Quartet of powerbrokers trying to rescue Western Force from Super Rugby cull

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    Rookie WF2404's Avatar
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    Quartet of powerbrokers trying to rescue Western Force from Super Rugby cull

    Jamie Pandora
    dailytelegraph | April 16th 2017

    A GROUP of heavyweight rugby identities and millionaire businessmen are plotting to save the Western Force from Super Rugby oblivion.
    The “big four” behind the campaign can today be revealed by the Daily Telegraph, and include former ARU chief executive Gary Flowers and the Force’s inaugural chief Peter O’Meara.
    Alongside them are highly successful businessmen Jon Collins, himself a former ARU and Waratahs director, and ground signage guru Raymond Burke, who has pledged to pump $50 million into the Force over the next 10 years if he can strike a deal with the West Australian government.
    Flowers, O’Meara and Collins have all purchased shares in the Own The Force campaign, which insiders say has pledges of $8 million.
    “This idea of community ownership is worth exploring, and Perth is a unique market compared to Queensland and NSW because of the connection to the community,” O’Meara said.
    “We’ve all been involved in rugby for a long time and we are right behind this - are we all silly?”
    Burke, who co-owns New Zealand’s Highlanders franchise, had a proposal to take over the ground signage and ticketing at Force’s home ground nib Stadium rejected by the previous WA government, but it has been resubmitted.
    “We are not asking for any money from the government, we’re just asking for assets that we will turn around and invest into the Western Force, and I guarantee that if they give us the support the Force will win a premiership in five years like the Highlanders did,” Burke said.
    While that proposal is being reviewed by the government in Perth, the Force still has significant financial support flowing through.
    Collins, who sold his Sykes Group business in 2010 for $55 million, has not ruled out a private ownership bid of the club depending on the outcome of the legal writ the franchise has taken out against the ARU.
    “The Own The Force campaign is a great initiative, I will be investing in it, and then I will be talking further to Peter [O’Meara] about what we can do once the legal action put in place has been resolved,” Collins said.
    “I was an ARU director from 2002-04 and we looked in detail at the two proposals from Perth and Victoria when we were introducing a new team, it was a resounding ‘yes’ for Perth to get the next Super Rugby side.
    “While they haven’t had success in winning the competition, there has been great success in junior development and grassroots enthusiasm.
    “Western Australian fans will feel as though they’ve been led down the garden path with what’s happened at the ARU over the past four months.”
    The ARU announced last Monday that either the Force or Melbourne Rebels will axed from the tournament.
    Flowers, who was running Australian rugby when the Force were introduced to Super Rugby in 2005, said it was imperative to see them remain in a rejigged 15-team tournament from next year.
    “Rugby can legitimately become the No.2 code in Western Australia [behind AFL], in Melbourne AFL is clearly No.1, then there is massive support for football, and then you’ve got the Storm who are very entrenched in the city,” Flowers said.
    “It is a tough job that the ARU have, one of the things I’m not sure has been done is an assessment of the impact of cutting a team.
    “It’s very well to say there’s a risk in keeping the same format, but what about the damage of losing a team.”
    Crowds across the SANZAAR board have been down since it was announced that three teams, including two from South Africa, would soon be axed.

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/spo...9755ac87c7dfbd

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    Veteran laura's Avatar
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    Bloody love this article!!

    “I was an ARU director from 2002-04 and we looked in detail at the two proposals from Perth and Victoria when we were introducing a new team, it was a resounding ‘yes’ for Perth to get the next Super Rugby side.

    “While they haven’t had success in winning the competition, there has been great success in junior development and grassroots enthusiasm.

    “Western Australian fans will feel as though they’ve been led down the garden path with what’s happened at the ARU over the past four months.”

    “It is a tough job that the ARU have, one of the things I’m not sure has been done is an assessment of the impact of cutting a team.

    “It’s very well to say there’s a risk in keeping the same format, but what about the damage of losing a team.”

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    Champion oxleymoron's Avatar
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    The problem will still remain the cronies at St Leonards. Regardless of the money raised, decision still falls to them.

    There would be increased angst from the ARU board that the force can all of a sudden potentially raise the monies described in the article but where was it last year before the IP rights and alliance was signed with ARU.

    It would be an element of jealousy from ARU regarding the amount of money to be raised given that they as a national body can't do it.

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    Senior Player Muddly's Avatar
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    Raymond Burke made a solo play for the Force at the end of last year (I believe that is why the Own the force went a little slow) and was rejected. I am not sure by whom ARU or state government?

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    The article says the previous bid was rejected by the previous state government, I assume because it involved the signage at NiB stadium?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jargan83 View Post
    The article says the previous bid was rejected by the previous state government, I assume because it involved the signage at NiB stadium?
    Yeah it will most likely be rejected again by venueswest. Its a state asset that has had taxpayer funds, it doesn't want to basically hand over assets to a businessman for the benefit of just rugby. That sort of model is being phased out with the new stadium at Burswood.

    Other tenants of NIB Stadium would rail against a proposal where Rugby gets a priority of funding from games held at NIB Stadium. With current crowds the Force are getting, they are pretty much level pegging with the Glory these days.

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    Veteran Contributor Alison's Avatar
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    I saw some stats this week that said the average attendance at Glory games this season was around $10K, so they've got the march on us at the moment.

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    Champion Tazzmania's Avatar
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    Great to see Sharpie tweeting the Daily Telegraph article and commenting: "Great to see the support"

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    The Force Onwards and Upwards

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    Quote Originally Posted by jargan83 View Post
    The article says the previous bid was rejected by the previous state government, I assume because it involved the signage at NiB stadium?
    This proposal was being touted to the ARU soon after we signed the Alliance and at the same time as we were drafting out the Own the Force model. Both were well before the mutterings of chopping a team were first heard. It has some merits but required plenty of assistance from the Goverment which at the time was preparing for an election. We didn't think it could be done in our time frame and continued on with OTF.
    It's now been floated again but not through us. Might be something to look at down the track but for now we are pursuing the plans we have in increasing our sponsorship and completing the OTF fundraising. Can't get distracted when we still haven't defeated the ARU axemen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by General View Post
    This proposal was being touted to the ARU soon after we signed the Alliance and at the same time as we were drafting out the Own the Force model. Both were well before the mutterings of chopping a team were first heard. It has some merits but required plenty of assistance from the Goverment which at the time was preparing for an election. We didn't think it could be done in our time frame and continued on with OTF.
    It's now been floated again but not through us. Might be something to look at down the track but for now we are pursuing the plans we have in increasing our sponsorship and completing the OTF fundraising. Can't get distracted when we still haven't defeated the ARU axemen.
    A Rebels fan from Melbourne is telling me the ARU are trying to bribe the Western Australian Government with a Bledisloe Cup match every two years in compensation for losing the Force.

    I would have expected if true that would have gone down like a lead balloon...

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    Champion chibi's Avatar
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    A New Zealand home game in Perth every two years?!

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    Japan and the Pacific Islands for Aussie Super 9's!

    Let's have one of these in WA! Click this link: Saitama Super Arena - New Perth Stadium?

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    Immortal Contributor jono's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Egan View Post
    A Rebels fan from Melbourne is telling me the ARU are trying to bribe the Western Australian Government with a Bledisloe Cup match every two years in compensation for losing the Force.

    I would have expected if true that would have gone down like a lead balloon...
    That's interesting, because that would mean they are reneging on a comittment to spread it around again in a "home series"
    Sydney is more than likely going to get one. And then there is Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth fighting it out for the second.

    This is the last year of the "prize" given to the QRU for the reds winning in 2011, where they & suncorp stadium got to host the 2nd home bledisloe test.
    Next year there is only one - already given to the new Perth stadium. And then after that you would assume Sydney and Brisbane are going to be bidding/petitioning hard to get the 2 after that because they're a finciancal windfall. And the only hope ANZ stadium has of seeing a half decent union crowd. Not to mention whatever Perth and Melb do to get another one.

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    Veteran Contributor fulvio sammut's Avatar
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    General, I'll give you this much, you've got balls and integrity in stating it as it is.

    I wish you had been in charge of community rugby, because if you had been from the start, I am sure the administrative shenanigans and poor decisions which have dogged rugby administration in WA, and have alienated so many grass roots rugby supporters from the Force and from further involvement in WA rugby, would not have occurred. And if that had not occurred, the ARU would not have dared to engage in their current machinations in the face of a strong united front.

    Your post also saddens me, as your words, coming from a WA rugby official, indicate to me that there is no further benefit in using tact and diplomacy in negotiations with the ARU, and that war has been declared.

    I can now only wish you well with your battle plans.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fulvio sammut View Post
    ...Your post also saddens me, as your words, coming from a WA rugby official, indicate to me that there is no further benefit in using tact and diplomacy in negotiations with the ARU, and that war has been declared....
    fulvio I think that has been the case since the infamous Sunday 4pm announcement, certainly since they sent the two hatchet men (one the ex CEO of Rebels) while Pulver wwnt to Cox

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    Pressure? Pressure is a Messerschmidt up your arse

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    I agree with bison. War was actually declared by the ARU at that meeting, it seems as though it was being planned long before that.

    At least we now know well be getting facts and figures from both sides now,

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    C'mon the

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