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Thread: Twiggy and the $50m rugby rejected

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    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    Twiggy and the $50m rugby rejected


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    Legend Contributor brokendown gunfighter's Avatar
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    Immortal jargan83's Avatar
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    I got through the Great Paywall somehow, mostly seems like a promo for a podcast but:

    Billionaire Andrew Forrest has lifted the lid on his explosive meeting with Australian rugby powerbrokers as he desperately tried to save the Western Force.

    In Episode 4 of The Australian’s new podcast The Breakdown, Forrest has exclusively spoken about the meeting in Adelaide in 2017 which would see the Australian Rugby Union walk away from a $50 million offer to revive the game’s grassroots and keep the Western Force in the competition.

    “If you’re in pursuit of bad corporate governance, you are only worried about yourself, then my offer to help fund the sport from the ground up to make good what had been neglected was just of no interest,” Forrest said.

    “And that, of course, was one of the great tragedies of rugby’s sporting history, that decision. And rugby, as you know, continue to go from bad to worse over the ensuing years.”

    Episode 4 of The Breakdown — ‘Where did the money go?’ — touches on years of flawed governance and gives an insight in one of the most disturbing chapters in rugby history.

    Forrest tells The Breakdown his meeting with rugby officials in 2017 was futile before it began.

    “I felt that I’d met with people who weren’t sincere, who had come to that meeting with the result already cooked, and I just had to be at that meeting because it would have looked too bad for them to have not attended,” Forrest said of the meeting.

    “And when I made the offer to meet them in Adelaide, then they felt they just had to do it. But you could tell I didn’t really want to be there.”

    Episode 4 covers the years from 2005, as Australian rugby dealt with the aftermath of 2003’s World Cup loss. Chief executive Gary Flowers both came into the game with big plans for growing the code and capitalising on its popularity, as well as launching a national competition which lasted a year.

    The Australian Rugby Championship was deeply controversial within the game, with former Wallabies captain Nick Farr-Jones telling The Breakdown the ARC “torched eight million dollars in the first year, before it was abandoned. That … wastage of money was terrible.”

    Former CEO John O’Neill was brought back from 2007 to 2012 and in 2013 businessman Bill Pulver came into the top job declaring he wanted the game to be more exciting, more professional and more popular.

    Financial difficulties and state-versus-state wrangling were putting pressure on the code’s finances and in 2014 the ARU introduced a National Participation Fee on all players from senior players down to the under-6s.

    Pulver introduced another national competition – the National Rugby Championship – which also failed to thrive.

    Nick Farr-Jones stood down as chairman of NSW Rugby in 2015 in frustration at the code’s troubles, including what he perceived as a failure to adequately fund club and grassroots rugby.

    He told The Breakdown: “I couldn’t be a part of the game, the professional game, going to matches and what have you without some bitterness, you know, a taste of bitterness.”

    In the meeting with the ARU about the Western Force’s departure, Andrew Forrest said he believed: “nothing was going to change their mind from the cooked result, which they said was, you know, made out of a comprehensive spreadsheet of variables which helped them select which team to cut.

    “They just that cooked result, which is what brought-in governance does. And when we came along and said, ‘well, apart from the fact that the Western Force just beat Sydney (NSW) and smashed Melbourne and is the fastest growing club in Australia with the second largest support base, we would be prepared to do what you have not done.

    “We would be prepared to make good what you have neglected, which is grassroots, which is building support from the grass up.”
    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/spo...298ca06c23f788

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    You'd be hard pressed to find someone more forward-looking, more willing to promote the future of Rugby in WA and generally. But like lots of us, is not "over it".

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    Immortal GIGS20's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shasta View Post
    You'd be hard pressed to find someone more forward-looking, more willing to promote the future of Rugby in WA and generally. But like lots of us, is not "over it".
    I don't think it's reasonable to "be over it" until the voting bloc is dismantled and self-service becomes impossible. Until that day, Western Force will always be the red headed stepchild and Aussie Rugby will continue to be fucked.

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    C'mon the

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    Legend Contributor brokendown gunfighter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GIGS20 View Post
    I don't think it's reasonable to "be over it" until the voting bloc is dismantled and self-service becomes impossible. Until that day, Western Force will always be the red headed stepchild and Aussie Rugby will continue to be fucked.
    bit harsh on Jono,there,GIGS20!

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    Immortal GIGS20's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brokendown gunfighter View Post
    bit harsh on Jono,there,GIGS20!
    Hmmm, good point

    I stand by my comments

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    C'mon the

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    A mate has an account and let me listen. To be honest its nothing we haven't read about before. Good on Andrew Forrest for doing it but come on The Australian, you are better than, claiming it's all new. Or maybe you're not. Oh that's right its a Mr Murdoch publication.
    At least it keeps the whole disgraceful episode out there I suppose. I'm going to try to listen to the other podcasts. Anyone else had a listen?

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    Legend Contributor .X.'s Avatar
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    I always thought it was 70Million.

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    Quote Originally Posted by .X. View Post
    I always thought it was 70Million.
    So did I

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    Legend Contributor .X.'s Avatar
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    Didnt John Welborn give evidence at the Senate Inquiry stating that Andrew Forrest offered $70Million?

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    Immortal jargan83's Avatar
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    Ask Linda Reynolds. Although she might be a bit hard to get a hold of at the moment.

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    Last edited by jargan83; 05-03-21 at 10:07.

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    So I did a bit of digging in the Senate enquiry and came up with this...give or take a couple of million perhaps the Australian should have done the same It's not hard .
    Agreements;
    (ii) The Western Force would receive equal funding from the ARU to the
    other 4 Australian Super Rugby teams;
    (iii) To compensate the ARU for having to continue to provide an ongoing
    $6m contribution to the Western Force, Mr Forest would provide
    funding to the ARU for grass roots rugby for $6m a year over the 3 + 5
    year period, $48m in total;
    (iv) Mr Forest would provide SANZAR compensation for the additional costs
    of going from 15 to 16 teams, namely $20m; and
    If this proposal was agreed to, then Mr Clyne and the rest of the ARU
    board would resign and a new board would appoint the next CEO.


    Well we know what happened next don't we

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    And then there's this

    Nick Taylor
    The West Australian
    Wed, 11 October 2017 7:18PM
    Nick Taylor
    Mining magnate Andrew Forrest called the Australian Rugby Union’s board's bluff when they said they would save the Western Force and resign if he pumped $70 million into the sport.
    He agreed. They backed down.
    Details of the demands were revealed for the first time during Wednesday’s senate inquiry into the future of rugby in Australia.
    Former Wallaby and Force foundation player John Welborn, an adviser for the proposed Indo Pacific Rugby Championship, said the ARU terms were presented to RugbyWA.
    But in a two-hour meeting a few days later with a Forrest deputation, the ARU board members never raised them again.
    Welborn claims the ARU said the Force could be saved if:
    The Western Force and all the other four Australian Super Rugby sides received equal funding.
    The Western Force was underwritten for the remaining three years of the broadcasting contract and a further five years.
    Forrest guaranteed to ensure the Force and RugbyWA would be in a “no loss” position.
    That $6 million a year for eight years would be pumped into grassroots rugby.
    That $20 million be provided in compensation to SANZAAR for the retention of the Force.
    “If accepted, the ARU board would resign to be replaced by a new board along with a new CEO,” Welborn said.
    “I think they were shocked that Andrew turned up willing to make what I assume would have been the largest philanthropic donation of all time and so they knocked him back.
    “I don’t think they had a plan B in terms of accepting that. At no point was there a discussion on those terms.
    “That proposition was never discussed in detail. Mr Forrest did make it clear on three occasions he was prepared to offer $50 million of new capital.
    “I was stunned that that opportunity was completely discounted. It appeared a decision was already made.
    “I was concerned that the process had not been transparent, it appeared a mindset had been created that the Western Force was going to be removed. It wasn’t because they should be removed it was because they could be removed.
    “The process, the transparency and the nature from start to finish would make a great case study of poor governance.”

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    Legend Contributor .X.'s Avatar
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    Nice to know I am not going crazy

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