On the trail of the SuperRugby ‘heist’ - Green and Gold Rugby
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On the trail of the SuperRugby ‘heist’

On the trail of the SuperRugby ‘heist’

Within hours of the SANZAAR announcement that SuperRugby would have one less Australian team from 2018, the Chairman of the ARU (Cameron Clyne) fronted the media.

He said the ARU had been under “extreme financial pressure” almost from the moment the 5th SuperRugby licence was awarded in 2010 and that the time had come for one of the ‘burdensome five’ to pack their bags.

The following evening, Clyne was interviewed on Fox Sports’ Kick and Chase. During that interview, the now infamous figure of $28million received its first airing. That, said Clyne, was how much the ARU had been forced to spend over the last four years to ‘prop up’ SuperRugby.

Now $28million seemed like a lot of moolah to me so I set about trying to work out how the ARU had managed to let things get so bad.

A good place for a commercial - Don't Force us out

A good place for a commercial – Don’t Force us out

Who do you think you are kidding Mr Clyne, if you think we can’t do sums

Given that Clyne had indicated that the rot set in almost as soon as the ARU had awarded the 5th SuperRugby licence, I took a detailed look at the ARU’s published financial reports for each year from 2010 to 2016.

The first thing that struck me was that, more often than not, the ARU’s expenditure had exceeded its revenue.

Even in 2010 when we still only had 4 SuperRugby franchises, its net surplus for the year was only a smidge over $1million. In each of the next 5 years, the ARU only managed to post a net surplus once. That was in 2013 when the British and Irish Lions tour delivered a net surplus of $19.5million. In the other years, the ARU posted net deficits ranging from $6.3million (in 2014) to $9.8million (in 2015). Things did improve in 2016 thanks to the 2016-2020 TV broadcast deal, which put $61.3million into the ARU’s bank account and allowed the ARU to post a net surplus of $3.7million.

The second thing that struck me was that not one of the financial reports appears to even hint at the doomsday scenario that was, apparently, bearing down on the ARU. In fact, if you were to read the 2016 report (which, incidentally, was published the same day that Clyne lamented the burden of 5 SuperRugby teams), you could be forgiven for thinking that everything in the SuperRugby garden was rosy! For example, in the “Review of operations” section of the Directors’ Report it says:

“.…the new broadcast agreements delivered a significant increase in revenue in 2016 which allowed for greater investment into Super Rugby, Community Rugby and other in the development of the game.”

Say what? Greater “investment” in SuperRugby?

Yes! On the same day that Clyne told us the ARU had been spending unsustainable sums of money on SuperRugby for years, they launch an Annual Report that happily talks about investing more in Super Rugby!

Anyway, the figures I’ve set out below tell the rest of the story as I have gleaned it from the ARU’s financial reports. I still haven’t worked out where that $28million figure came from, but I do now have a good idea where a big chunk of it went. And so will you if you read on to the end…

aussie super rugby

Super Rugby – heading down the drain?

 

Super Rugby Grants in the period 2011 to 2016

The obvious place to start when looking at how much the ARU has spent ‘propping up’ SuperRugby is the grants. A franchise-by-franchise comparison for each year is impossible because the financial statements only apportion those payments from 2014 onwards. Consequently, the table below shows only the gross figure in years 2011 to 2013.

ARU Team Funding

NOTES

  1. In 2016, the Rebels received an additional $2,600,000 from the ARU. This was described as “special funding as part of the external sale agreement” of the Rebels in 2015. It brought the Rebels’ total “grants” figure for 2016 to $8.3million.
  1. In August 2016, the Force sold its SuperRugby licence and intellectual property to the ARU for $3,700,000. The ARU’s accounts treated those proceeds as “grant” funding, bringing the Force’s total figure for 2016 to $7,357,000.

But it wasn’t until I came across the loans figures in the ARU’s reports that the true magnitude of its SuperRugby largesse became apparent.

The only organisations that did not receive ARU loans during the period 2011 to 2016 were the Waratahs and the Force. For the Brumbies it’s less clear – although the ARU extended loans of around $0.7million to the ACT Rugby Union, it’s not clear whether that was for the Brumbies. Although most of the loan was repaid, a small amount ($27,000) was ultimately written off by the ARU in 2015.

The Queensland Rugby Union was extended a $3million interest-bearing loan facility by the ARU in 2010. Again it’s not clear whether this was specifically for the Reds. The loan was fully repaid by the end of 2012.

Which brings us to the Melbourne Rebels.

Before the Rebels had even kicked a ball, the ARU agreed to extend them a ten-year, interest-bearing loan of $2.6million. The facility was available for draw down at $1.3million per year for 2011 and 2012.

In 2013, the ARU extended a new loan facility to the Rebels of $3million for the next 12 months.

In 2014, the ARU extended another new loan facility to the Rebels of “up to” $2.5million.

As at 31 December 2014, the ARU financial statements showed some $8.75million in outstanding loans owed to it by the Rebels.

It's a full time job

Melbourne – causing some headaches.

In 2015, the ARU extended yet another loan facility to the Rebels for use in 2015. This time the amount was $4,268,000.

But it isn’t until we get to mid-2015 that things get really jaw-dropping.

On 1 July 2015, a new private investor took ownership of the  Rebels.  Note 23ii to the ARU’s accounts for 2015 states,

The [ARU’s] control over Melbourne Rebels Rugby Union Ltd (“MRRU”)was relinquished on 30th June 2015 pursuant to a sale and purchase agreement….. No consideration was paid to [the ARU] as part of this agreement. As part of the sale and purchase agreement, [the ARU] forgave its loans to the MRRU as set out in Note 18 [and cleared them from the balance sheet].”

The loans set out in “Note 18” consisted of the $8.75million shown in the ARU’s 2014 accounts, PLUS the $4,268,000 the Rebels had received in 2015.

So, when the Rebels went back into private ownership on 1 July 2015, the ARU kissed goodbye to $13,018,000 as part of the deal. Not only that, it threw in another $2.6million in “special funding” for 2016.

That meant that even without the cost to the ARU of having to run the Rebels for the two years they were between owners, the ARU has so far shelled out $15.6million in (presumably) unbudgeted expenditure as a consequence of awarding the 5th SuperRugby licence.

When you add in the budgeted expenditure for the 5th licence as well, it’s not hard to see why the ARU has posted more deficits than surpluses since 2010, or what is truly responsible for the financial unsustainability Clyne laments.

Hopefully someone who is going to the EGM on 20 June is reading this and will ask some very pointed questions of Clyne and Pulver on behalf of every rugby fan in Australia.

 

  • Bobas

    So the aru sold the rebels without telling the private owner how much money it was losing?

    • I read that as the ARU going “please take this team off our hands because we can’t afford to keep losing this much money”. And then the MRRU saying “we will only buy it if you wipe all of the debt”.

    • Ali

      I am assuming that Mr Cox would have done his due diligence before acquiring the company. It would be interesting to know though whether Mr Cox was aware that (according to Mr Clyne in his April 2017 interviews) the ARU knew almost as soon as the 5th licence was awarded that that SuperRugby was financially unsustainable with 5 franchises.
      I also would like to ask the ARU why they didn’t take the opportunity to withdraw the 5th licence during the period from mid-2013 to mid-2015 when they had control of the Melbourne Rebels company. Was it because the one they really wanted to cull even back then was the Force?!

      • SuckerForRed

        The other thing I would ask is: Since the directors knew “immediately in 2011″ that the expansion was a bad idea, why is this not stated in the notes to the reports? Good business practice says that if you, as a director, have any issues with the business operations of an entity you are required to sate these in the annual reports. Or maybe I am just a bit to ethical for the management of a national sporting body…..

        • Ali

          I asked myself exactly the same question SFR……who knows….

  • Valzc

    If Cox is such as astute businessman – how would he in all seriousness NOT KNOW the books BEFORE he bought the Rebels. Come on – it’s plain as the nose on your face what went down – a dodgy deal by the looks! No point going into denial.

  • Miss Rugby

    Ok, I’ll admit that when it comes to business and finance I’m one of the “remedial” students, so am asking this in the hope of someone clearing it up for me.
    When Cox bought the Rebels, did he hand over any money or was the debt being cleared considered the cost. Is that what “No consideration was paid to [the ARU] as part of this agreement.” means? I know I’m not the smartest person, but wouldn’t that be like me saying my dad can’t afford to repay his home loan so I’ll buy his house off the bank but I won’t give them any money and they will clear the loan so the house is mine outright and I haven’t put a cent towards it, except for the cost of upkeep, rates etc?
    I guess I just want to know if the ARU received any money for the sale of the Rebels, or if they just wrote off a shite load of money so they didn’t have to keep loaning them more.
    Also are the ARU still handing money to the Rebels? Because if that’s the case it sounds like a pretty sweet deal for the owner. Don’t pay to buy the club, club is debt free because of sale and the ARU will still hand money over if needed????
    Or is Cox now responsible for all costs?

    • I’m not sure about any additional funding but the ARU definitely still cover the cost of the players (salary cap) as they do with all the other clubs.

      • Ali

        The ARU accounts show that in 2016 the ARU gave the Rebels “special funding” of $2.6million over and above their SuperRugby grant of $5.7million for that year. The special funding was seemingly agreed as part of the acquisition of the Rebels by Mr Cox. I don’t know if that was a one-off payment or whether it will be on-going.

        • SuckerForRed

          Just confirming… because I find the ARU financial reports bloody confusing….. is the “grant” meant to cover the salary cap payments of the players? If so, shouldn’t all franchises be getting what ever the salary cap is ($5.7 million?) at least, before any “special” transactions?

        • ForceFan

          The Salary Cap is the same for all franchises and is set at $4.5 Million.
          The franchises can direct another $0.5 Million to players from sponsorship.

        • SuckerForRed

          So do the grants include the Salary cap or are they over & above the salary cap?
          PS I am fairly sure this is a rhetorical question…..

        • Andrew Luscombe

          The ARU does not separately cover the $4.5 million player salaries for each team. They do separately make other payments to players which enables some teams to field stronger squads than others.

          The figures in the article above are incomplete, so do not draw any concludions from them.

        • Ali

          Hi Andrew,

          If the figures are “incomplete” or out of context, please feel free to fill in the gaps. The accounts are available for download at a cost of $38 per set from the ASIC website at http://www.asic.gov.au

    • Ali

      Hi Miss Rugby,

      The accounts say Mr Cox ‘acquired’ the company “for zero consideration”. I’m not a lawyer but I think that means he paid $1 for it as there has to be figure to make a legal sale and purchase contract. The accounts also show that at the time he acquired the company it had zero assets and zero liabilities so he started with a clean balance sheet.

    • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

      It appears that the ARU paid Cox to take over the loss making franchise by forgiving the franchise debt and provide additional funding. Cox has he mandate to turn the franchise around and if he fails the ARU will pick up the tab again. Clearly there should be no argument of which franchise needs the most support from the ARU. Great work Alison!

    • Chinese Dave

      “I know I’m not the smartest person”, I don’t know about that. I reckon your home loan analogy pretty much hit the nail on the head and showed the ARU’s bullshit for what it is. And to think we’re paying 800K/annum for this management incompetence. I reckon most lemonade stands this summer will be better managed than the ARU. Pulver’s stint at the ARU has extended the Peter Principle by an additional rung, not only has he been promoted to the level of hit incompetence, he used his private school connections to go another level further. Can’t wait to see the back of him.

  • ForceFan

    At the initial press conference on 10 April Chairman Clyne advised that ”

    Between 2013-2017 the ARU had put $28 Million in rescuing all but one of the Aus SR franchises. This was over and above the $13 Million written off in 2016 (related to the private purchase of the Rebels).

    Evidently, Allison has been unable to glean the $28 Million from the ARU accounts.

    It would be good if Chairman Clyne disclosed a detailed breakdown regarding the recipients of the $28 Million at the EGM.

    • Ali

      Importantly, he also described that $28million as unexpected expenditure. If there is one thing that needs asking at the EGM tomorrow it’s where did that $28million go and how was it shown in the ARU accounts.

    • Missing Link

      You are talking about Cameron Clyne and not Andrew Cox, correct?

      • ForceFan

        Thnx (??)

        • Missing Link

          No problem. It just wouldn’t be right to expose Cox like that :)

  • SuckerForRed

    Is there anything special about the $7.25 million to the Rebels in 2014? Something tells me that there was some sort of “one off” transaction here too but I can’t remember…

    • Do you mean the Rebels in 2014?

      • SuckerForRed

        Yes. Yes I did…

        • Ali

          Dunno SFR. If there was, I couldn’t see it in the ARU’s accounts

        • SuckerForRed

          Yeah. One of my problems with the ARU reporting…. all seems very murky and changes to classifications are made from year to year so that comparisons are difficult to make…..

        • Ali

          Absolutely!!!

        • ForceFan

          Absolutely SFR….I work in the Mining Industry and read a myriad of Qtly Reports.
          Companies which vary their accounts from period to period are usually trying to hide something and avoiding scrutiny.
          The lack of transparency in these accounts – especially when the Chairman made so much of these bail-out funds – is an area of great concern.

  • Why doesn’t any of the sound like good business?

  • paul

    This simply says more about the feasibility of Super rugby than anything else, once again the Albatross around the neck of rugby in this country

  • Nutta

    Lovely work Alison. Keep going.

  • Missing Link

    It gets worse, the Rebels colluded with Russia. We the people must impeach the Rebels now!

    • Brisneyland Local

      Tip of the HAt ML, Tip of the hat!

      • Missing Link

        and that’s even before Ciprianigate is uncovered

        • Brisneyland Local

          Ohhhhh Do tell! You cant leave that one hanging out there. Also we have to ask what the pay out figure to Di Patston was. The ARU have failed to reveal that one too! Pay out huge dollars so their dirty laundry isnt aired!

        • Missing Link

          It wouldn’t do the story justice unless we polished off a couple of bottles of grey goose at the same time

        • Brisneyland Local

          I am down with that!

  • Greg

    Nice work….. I sense a big clean out coming at tomorrow’s EGM.

    Perhaps something for the Wallabies to watch and learn from.

  • Andrew Luscombe

    I don’t believe that you’ve captured all the money flows. Quite likely it isn’t possible from the annual reports. You might have only identified a bit over half the money.

    There is almost certainly a much better understanding of the figures available to the members at the EGM.

    Funding of sports teams often appears strange to many people, and they will often reach strange conclusions from isolated figures. For some reason many people think that teams are businesses that need to stand or fall on their own. In fact, while they are often companies or clubs with a legally independent existence, this is usually only the case to keep existing stakeholders happy, or to spread risk in some way. Teams really function together as a league, and there is often a lot of money moving around to make the network of clubs function. No team can function on its own. A single team is of no more use than a telephone in the absence of a network of phones.

    Almost all modern professional sports teams rely on central funding for a majority of their revenue. The stories you see in the media about “bail outs” etc. are more a function of the mechanisms the sport uses to distribute the money than they are related to the viability of any particular club or team.

    None of the points I’ve made should be read as supporting Cameron Clyne. In the absence of a common and agreed understanding of all the transactions, no figures mean much.

    • paul

      What you are saying is that the clubs are struggling as they are not receiving the benefits from Super rugby that a functional successful league would provide.

      Does this not highlight that 3-5-10 teams are not the issue, what you have is super rugby a competition really just set up to provide a professional wage for prospective Wallaby players, and how ultimately the structural flaws inherent in that will slowly as is, undermine the competition itself.

      • Andrew Luscombe

        The main thing I’m saying is it is not safe to draw any conclusions from this article or the figures in it.

        But yes the aims of the national bodies are not those of a professional sports league. The number of teams is not the biggest issue.

    • The figures that weren’t included were the grants given to each state to run the local comps and juniors which again paints a hole mother picture

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/31672bde645b84dd1162cc74410441e5cb77604840e12b7e408f53e4087c84fe.jpg

      • Andrew Luscombe

        There’s plenty more than that. There’s at least $44 million easily identifiable as SR money in the 2016 financial summary, but only $27 listed in the article above.

        The $4.4 you identify is in the 2016 summary as a separate non-SR line.

      • Andrew Miller

        I don’t really have a problem with the size of the grant to the NT ARU – I am sure they have challenges that the other unions don’t. But the fact that the grants allocated to the WARU are significantly less than the grants allocated to the VRU – as well as the pouring of money into the Rebels over the same period suggests that the ARU at the very least has not been acting with RugbyWA’s interests at heart. I’m sure the conspiracy theorists out there will suggest that more nefarious plans have been afoot. Maybe if Alison has a few months spare she can research this anomaly as well ;)

    • Ali

      You’re right Andrew that it’s very hard to analyse every figure in the financial statements because some are not well described. For example, there is an entry for SR “team costs” but nothing to say what costs they are. Is it top-ups? Is It travel and accommodation costs for away games? Who knows. Also, the presentation of the financial information isn’t consistent year on year so accurate comparisons then become impossible. That’s why in the article I stuck to those items that were clearly described and defined in the accounts. For example, SR grants and loans to SR organisations. They alone paint a damning enough picture so goodness knows what other things are lurking in the shadows!

      • Andrew Luscombe

        Thanks for the asic link above. I may take a look.

        It is often hard enough to work out these things even when the people who produced them are sitting with you. Groupings of transactions often change from year to year depending on whatever is convenient at the time – the convenience may be for tax purposes, political purposes within an organisation, or for the people doing the accounting. The people doing the accounting usually like to keep things the same, but when new types of transaction arise they will often stick them in whatever bucket is easiest rather than go through the political effort of creating new buckets for someone to be responsible for.

        There is just as much chance that the imbalances in your numbers are making up for imbalances elsewhere as there is of further imbalances.

        It’s also important to remember that there are all sorts of ‘natural’ imbalances that the accounts might be compensating for, a minor example of which might be travel.

        How people classify things and what they think is fair varies, it is fundamentally unobjective. Just because something is expressed in numbers it doesn’t make it impartial.

        It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that you found no support for Cameron Clyne’s numbers. His numbers are likely the restult of a ‘regrouping’ of the transactions for current purposes, as opposed to the asic numbers which were done for whatever was suitable for that year.

        We can all speculate about what exactly the current purposes are – get some numbers to support killing the Force, to support killing any one team, to find the best way forward? Were they unconciously biased? Almost certainly, but in what direction isn’t clear. The ARU hasn’t been open enough to form a certain view on their various motivations.

        There is a widespread view in Sydney that blames the expansion teams, and thinks ‘non rugby states’ don’t have a right to a team, because they don’t produce sufficient players. It’s likely that this view has provided the rational for whatever reworking of the numbers has occured.

        • SuckerForRed

          “The ARU hasn’t been open enough to form a certain view on their various motivations.”
          And this is what the problem is. Perhaps the ARU should be a little more open, come out and explain the $28Million comment and tell us where the money is going. Then maybe, just maybe, they would be dealing with the backlash that is happening at the moment. I like to think that if you explain decisions clearly then most people will work with the decisions. They may not like them but they will accept them.

  • Nigel Beavis

    What a load of Bankers!!!
    It takes a passionate rugby fan who spends her own money to get hold of the ARU annual statements, spends many hours unravelling the web of $28 million additional expenditure above the budget, please someone with some power at the EGM, make the board accountable for their actions (or non actions) and tell SANZAAR that RUPA and the Australian rugby union supporters want Five Australian teams.

    • Huw Tindall

      I’d love 5 teams to remain but I fear if we keep getting pumped by the kiwi teams then fan interest in the comp will clearly die regardless of how many aussie teams there are.

      I fear Australian rugby is really in a dire place with European rugby poaching our players and an increasingly unstable and precarious financial position in Australia compounding the issue. I can forsee a Soccer A League style scenario when literally the C team runs around in a domestic comp and the stars are over in Europe. Southern Hemisphere rugby really needs to band together in the face of this. I don’t have the answer but I can see the problem! Or maybe fuck it. The A League goes OK. Sure it’s relatively low standard but people give a shit.

      • Peter Duncombe

        We need NSW and QLD teams only. 90% of the players are developed in these two states. Two strong state teams will breed a stronger Wallaby team than five weak sides. Look at history, the Wallabies have become less capable with the addition of each new franchise.

        • Lawn Mowing and Garden Service

          Peter you got this stamens wrong neither old or new were in the top 2 of the aussie comp – and yet you are touting that they are the best – i WOULD CALL THAT ONE EYED EASTERN STATER

        • Peter Duncombe

          I did not state the NSW or QLD are better teams , however when the Australian pool of players (most of whom are developed in NSW and QLD) is spread around the country to five teams all is does is create weaker sides all around. Australia can only successfully field two strong sides and they should come from the RUGBY states!!!!
          As I stated previously the Wallabies were very competitive up until the ARU had a brain snap and thought it would be a good idea to spread small pool of players all over the country!!!!!
          I am not a One Eyed Eastern Stater – I don’t even bother to watch Rugby these days.

  • Thoroughly impressed by this post. Thanks to all involved.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Alison, wow, impressed. I deal with big financial spreadsheets like this regularly, so know how much work you have put in. I would love to see what you could do if you were given the complete and transparent figures.

    Keep pushing, great read. You are a champion of the rugby fan!

  • Brett McKay

    Glad you were able to get this up and published Alison, I know a lot of work went into it! Well done, you’ve shed some important light onto a very dark subject here.

    The thing that still gets me in all this is the three-year grant money table there. for all the talk about the Force ‘bleeding the ARU dry’ they still only received $1.1-1.2M MORE than either the Waratahs or Reds in the same period, and that INCLUDES the $3.7M buyout last year.

    That point alone makes me wonder what the bloody hell the NSWRU and QRU are doing!

    But the other huge question your excellent work here raises is this very simple one:

    Why on earth is it even a question of who needs to be cut adrift?

    I’m still firmly of the belief that strength-by-shrinkage is not achievable, but if one team genuinely has to go, it’s fairly obvious which team has been the real cost…

    • Ali

      Cheers Brett – thanks for giving me the encouragement to persist!

  • Missing Link

    There are only 3 outcomes:

    1. Pulver, Clyne et al. “resign”
    2. A deal is brokered to merge the Rebels and Force. split home games between Perth and Melbourne. Wessels is coach, McMahon Skipper etc.
    3. all of the above

    despite how you present any numbers, it’s too difficult to cut any of the two teams, regardless of where your heart lies.

    I have been sticking up for the Rebels because they are under siege and I like backing an underdog. Force fans don’t want to see their own team cut so the alternative is the Rebels, and everyone else thinks the Rebels are sucking up all their funding for pro players/grass roots. I think if the ARU pull out of Rugby in either of Perth or Melbourne, then they are surrendering to other codes, especially AFL. We can’t let that happen.

    • tony

      Why should I miss half my home games for the yr

      • Missing Link

        would you prefer to miss them all when your team is cut?

        would you consider missing half your home games if it meant a considerable discount on your membership?

        • tony

          Nope its all or nothing.. If they want to be called the ARU and support a national comp the force should stay.. I am not into joint ventures and if you ask the forces fans they are the same.. Force go do all my union ties with Australian rugby.. I will watch mungo ball..Go the Bunnies

        • Missing Link

          So if you believe in all or nothing, you’d also support the retention of the Rebels? Am I right? Or are you a Force fan who doesn’t really care what happens to the Rebels, as long as the ARU keep the Force?

        • RahRah

          What arrant hypocrisy!! It is the Rebels who have come out in the press and stated that they agree with four teams “AS LONG AS IT ISN’T US”.

        • Missing Link

          you know I’ve been looking for that quote all afternoon and I can’t find it anywhere

        • RahRah

          Here you go

          “According to Melbourne sources, the Rebels also believe that the ARU
          policy of cutting a team to improve the profitability and
          competitiveness of the remaining four is the correct course — providing
          it is not the team being cut.”

          The full article below:

          http://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/rugby-union/arus-emergency-meeting-not-likely-to-resolve-very-much/news-story/437e96b180b8a72a38cbf243a19de226

        • Missing Link

          If an article isn’t willing to name its sources, then it isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Who are these Melbourne sources?? Do they even exist? Nobody was actually quoted to have said that so I question the reliability of the article

        • RahRah

          What twaddle. Journalist have throughout history protected their sources, that’s why they remain sources. Wayne Smith is probably the country’s most respected and reliable rugby journo.
          On top of that, the Rebels have openly opposed the VRU and RUPA’s first two agenda items at yesterdays meeting, one of which was to maintain 5 teams in the comp.

        • Missing Link

          whatever suits your agenda

        • Who?

          Agreed. But it’s not just the Rebels showing this hypocrisy – it’s also the Brums, Tahs and Reds.

        • tony

          I am of the opinion that the country needs 5 SR teams of equal standing.. if the rebels survive the like the force then they should be funded equally with all the other franchises ..With the player numbers we have coming thru national state comps Shute shield Pindan , Premier comp in QLD and the ACT , Tassie VIC and SA we need to get NRC thriving to bring players thru to SR.. WA deserves a team just as much as any other state.. What are your thoughts please explain ????

        • Missing Link

          I have always supported 5 Aussie teams and nothing changes that. Keep the Force AND Rebels as they are both important to the rugby footprint in this country

        • Missing Link

          I have always supported 5 aussie teams. The ARU must keep both the rebels and force as they are important to the rugby footprint in this country. Lose 1 and you raise the white flag

  • Scott

    Excellent summary of the ARU’s funding of our Super Rugby clubs. one of those good occasions when an article raises more questions that it answers, and its answered quite a few. The points raised here need to be taken up by professional journalists (no disrespect Alison, you’ve done what these journos haven’t) and put to Clyne and Pulver in an open forum. I want to seem them squirm in their seats while they try to answer!

    • SuckerForRed

      Maybe Brett McKay will pick up the mantle….

      • Scott

        Excellent idea. Brett, would you be able to take this further and get it published through one of your various avenues?

      • Brett McKay

        Have given it a fair shove on the Twitters this afternoon, so hopefully that will help. And we’ve head this afternoon that Michael Cheika this morning rang the FB rant guy for a chat this morning too, so it’s fair to say this will be read somewhere in the corridors of power.

        Ali’s done a great job here – I was lucky enough to see one of her drafter versions, and I’m just so glad she kept going with it..

        • Who?

          So Brett, if we want a chat with Cheik, all we have to do is write a drunk spray on social media..? He’s admitted he was drunk, and it’s not like he’s advocating anything that Cheika’s not already doing (i.e. train harder, show some passion. Because apparently our players don’t care if they lose, and can deal with being publicly pilloried by their coach)…
          I just wanna know why Hunt, DHP, and Hodge aren’t allowed to take clearing kicks. If they were, Genia wouldn’t have been charged down for a try…

        • Brett McKay

          I think we all want to know that, Who…

        • Who?

          We just don’t seem to have anyone with access to get answers. :-(

  • Huw Tindall

    Great article Alison and thanks for the effort. If anybody wants to know how passionate Australian rugby fans are then just look at this article. Who goes to so much effort if they don’t deeply care? Fantastic.

    In addition to the increase in player salaries from adding a 5th franchise i’d like to know how much extra in logistics expenses the expansion to 18 teams has added? So much travel must eat into team budgets let alone tax the players and staff.

    If the expansion to 5 teams in Australia was unaffordable then the expansion to 18 teams compounded the issue.

    It all points to a major competition restructure or at the more extreme a super rugby scorched earth policy…start again.

  • Tele Ventouras

    I hope the media pick up on this and its given the airing it deserves.

  • Andrew Miller

    Congratulations Alison for a job well done. it does beg the question, is the ARU really bad at accounting or are they trying to hide something from us?

  • Stin

    Bring back John O’Neill!

  • Ob Servations

    Alison you are Brilliant! The ARU needs you in charge! Why? Because you can count!

  • Wade Ruffin

    So at the end of the day do they need to pay the players less, the administrators less OR both? The answer can be that be that simple…. cost + cost MUST = or be less than REVENUE (ticket sales, TV rights etc) and then invest the surplus back into the grass roots of the game. Have a look at what soccer, league, Aussie Rules does- it ain’t rocket science….

  • ForceFan

    News from the EGM. VicRU vote for 5 SR teams while MRRU vote for 4 teams in an effort to drive up their exit price. The vote for 4 teams was carried only 8:6. No wonder Clyne was nervous. The multi-ring ARU circus continues.

    • SuckerForRed

      You are kidding me? JHC

Rugby

Alison is passionately Western Australian and passionately Western Force. She wears her heart on her sleeve and can be found shouting herself blue at every Force home game. If the ARU decides to axe the Force, you may find her chained to the door of Bill Pulver's office singing that well-known resistance hymn - "We Shall Not be Moved"!

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