Axed Super Rugby Side Western Force To Return To Action In '18
A Western Force team "could be back in action by as early as April" after RugbyWA was handed back the franchise's license and intellectual property, according to Justin Chadwick of the AAP. RugbyWA came out of voluntary administration on Friday after Rugby Australia "waived a legal debt" of more than A$1M ($750,000). RA spent about A$1.7M in legal costs after RugbyWA "battled to save the Force through arbitration and then a Supreme Court appeal." RugbyWA entered into voluntary administration last month, saying that the axing of the Force from Super Rugby meant it simply did not "have the revenue stream to pay back RA's legal costs." But RA has "now forgiven that debt" after billionaire mining magnate Andrew Forrest promised to pump more than A$2M ($1.5M) into grassroots and women's rugby in WA. As part of RugbyWA's relaunch, the Future Force Academy will be "resurrected to help convert amateur athletes to professional players, and it will be open to women for the first time." RugbyWA will fund three professional women's players in '18, "with that number to expand in the future" (AAP, 12/10).