Force claim ARU agreed to let them back in

Western Force have claimed the Australian Rugby Union agreed to let them back into the Super Rugby competition — only to renege on the offer.

RugbyWA board member David Vaux claims he was told by ARU chairman Cameron Clyne that all five Australian franchises will be retained if billionaire Andrew Forrest financially underwrote the Force and made a significant contribution to Australian rugby.

Vaux said the commitment was made by Clyne on Sunday.

Two days later, Forrest met with Clyne and two other ARU board members in Adelaide.

At this meeting, Forrest tabled an offer believed to be worth in the vicinity of $50 million.

Forrest also gave an unconditional guarantee that the Force would be no financial burden on the ARU.

But the ARU rejected that proposal, leaving Forrest stunned.

“It is now clear that the ARU did not attend the meeting in Adelaide with the intention of resolving a mutually acceptable agreement, as said previously by ARU Chairman Cameron Clyne,” RugbyWA chairman Tony Howarth said.

The Force have been granted the right to appeal the ARU’s decision to axe the team.

The hearing was conducted in the NSW Supreme Court on Wednesday, and a decision could be handed down by next week.

If the Force’s appeal is unsuccessful, Forrest has pledged to start up a new international rugby competition that will see the franchise compete with teams from Asia.

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