WA Premier Threatens To Sue Australian Rugby Union For More Than A$100M
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).