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SBD Global/July 17, 2017/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Super Rugby Side Western Force CEO Says Billionaire's Backing Is Critical

Australian Super Rugby side Western Force CEO Mark Sinderberry said that having the backing of billionaire Andrew Forrest will be a "valuable weapon" as the club continues to "fight for Super Rugby survival," according to Tom Decent of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The franchise "enjoyed one of its most memorable evenings on Saturday," when Forrest, a mining magnate worth an estimated A$4.5B ($3.5B), told Force players the club "had his full support." Forrest said, "Be assured that surviving is not an issue, you will survive and you will win." Sinderberry is "not entirely sure if that will be monetary support but nonetheless argued it was a significant boost for the club." Sinderberry: "He's standing shoulder-to-shoulder and behind the club to ensure that we continue to survive, so that will take whatever form is required" (SMH, 7/16). 

ON THE MOVE?: In London, Bret Harris wrote with the "axe hanging over the Melbourne Rebels and the Western Force," the Australian Rugby Union "might be advised to follow South Africa's example and relocate a Super Rugby team rather than cull it -- and the obvious place is Japan." It "makes sense" for int'l sporting competitions to be based on longitude rather than latitude because teams are "roughly in the same time zone, which has tremendous benefits, particularly for broadcasting." If the Force or the Rebels could form a commercial partnership with a Japanese company which did not already own a Top League team, "it would be a financially viable operation at little or no cost to the ARU." An Australian team playing in the Top League "would strengthen the commercial relationship with Japanese rugby and create new sponsorship and broadcast opportunities for both countries, particularly heading into the 2019 World Cup in Japan" (GUARDIAN, 7/13).
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