Senate Inquiry Hears ARU Reneged On Offer To Save Western Force
The Australian Rugby Union's rejection of billionaire Andrew Forrest's A$50M offer to save the Western Force was a "backflip that came weeks after it told him such a figure would save the club," a Senate inquiry heard, according to Greg Roberts of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The revelations were made by the mining magnate's friend, former rugby professional and businessman John Welborn, at a Senate hearing into the "controversial axing of the Perth-based Force from Super Rugby." If Forrest provided the money, the ARU said that "its board and CEO would also resign," Welborn said. He and Forrest asked ARU Chair Cameron Clyne what they could do to save the Force and were given a list that was "supposed to be impossible to meet." Welborn, when asked when Forrest told the ARU he was willing to provide A$50M, said, "I think they were shocked when Andrew turned up willing to make ... the largest philanthropic sporting donation of all time." They were told it was "too late and RugbyWA should have got help earlier" (SMH, 10/11).