Wednesday, 19 April 2017 10:59AM
Former Western Force chief executive Peter O’Meara has questioned the independence of a top Australian Rugby Union executive involved in the process to cull a team from Super Rugby.
He has queried whether chief operations officer Rob Clarke should be involved.
Clarke is a former chief executive of both the Melbourne Rebels and the ACT Brumbies.
The Rebels and Force are struggling to avoid the axe.
O’Meara, the inaugural Force chief executive, also questioned the evaluation process being used by the ARU to decide which club to axe.
The ARU said it had no comment. Clarke was contacted for comment.
O’Meara is at the centre of a syndicate plotting to save the struggling Force with an injection of $50 million.
“From a corporate governance perspective there are things I am hearing and seeing about the ARU process that are disturbing,” O’Meara said.
“You have a senior executive in Rob Clarke, a former chief executive of both the Brumbies and Rebels, who has been at the forefront of negotiations to drop a team. My concern is whether his recommendations are totally independent given his (former) close affiliation and background with the two rugby franchises and, according to a Rebels press release, at no stage had the national body even hinted that the Rebels were in danger and was contrary to advice provided by ARU management.
“The rugby public should simply ask that the evaluation process be transparent and defendable.”
Force chief executive Mark Sinderberry said he knew little of the plan by O’Meara, former ARU chief executive Gary Flowers, former ARU and Waratahs director Jon Collins and ground sign provider Raymond Burke.
“We have not been part of any discussions. We understand they have been held with the Government,” Sinderberry said.
“They sound like interesting long-term possibilities but what is important is that we remain 100 per cent committed to the community ownership Own the Force model.”