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Volume 6 No. 234


The Western Australia government "threatened to bankrupt the Australian Rugby Union if the Western Force are not reinstated," according to the AAP. WA Premier Mark McGowan said that the state government is "getting legal advice" and the options include suing for restitution of more than A$100M ($79.4M), "which would bankrupt the ARU," or suing for reinstatement. McGowan said, "My ultimatum to the ARU is this -- reinstate the Force or we'll use every tool at our disposal to get our money back and if that means the ARU goes bankrupt, so be it." McGowan added that the ARU had "acted with great disrespect to WA taxpayers," and if it went bankrupt, that was its "own fault." The premier wrote a letter to ARU CEO Bill Pulver saying that "rugby union is considered to be an integral part of WA sport." He said that A$17M ($13.5M) was spent on a new training HQ for the Force in Mount Claremont and A$1.5M ($1.2M) for an annual Road Safety Commission sponsorship deal. He said that A$95M ($75.4M) was also spent on nib Stadium, which A-League club Perth Glory uses too. McGowan said that the investments were made "with an expectation and understanding that the Force would continue to participate in the Super Rugby competition" (AAP, 8/21).

SEA OF BLUE: WA TODAY's Fran Rimrod reported more than 1,000 Western Force fans marched to the RugbyWA HQ in Floreat on Sunday "to protest the axing of the team from the Super Rugby competition, causing a traffic chaos around Perry Lakes." 6PR reporter Jake Battrick said that "a sea of blue had filled the space" behind the Perth rugby HQ to "draw the attention" of the ARU. Western Force players, board members and "high-profile" speakers like WA mining mogul Andrew Forrest "voiced their anger and thanked fans for their support" (WA TODAY, 8/20).

A company which owns more than a third of shares in League Championship club Bolton Wanderers "has been liquidated," according to Andrew Aloia of the BBC. Sports Shield BWFC Ltd., owned by former Bolton striker Dean Holdsworth and part of a takeover in March '16, "was wound up on Monday." The winding-up petition was lodged by BluMarble Ltd. "in relation to non-repayment" of a £5M loan. The loan, which because of accumulated interest is understood to be closer to £7M ($9M), "was secured against club assets." Previously, Bolton Chair Ken Anderson said that Holdsworth "failed to tell" the club of the arrangement. Sports Shield and Anderson's Inner Circle Investments "saved Bolton from financial collapse" when they completed their takeover by taking control of previous Owner Eddie Davies' 94.5% share. In May, Anderson said that Inner Circle Investments acquired approximately 30% of Sports Shield "to assist with resolving the matter with BluMarble," leaving Sports Shield with a 37.5% share and Inner Circle with 57.5% (BBC, 8/21).