Rugby | ARU strike deal to keep Force in Perth

Sydney – The Australian Rugby Union (ARU)
on Friday announced a deal that will keep struggling Force in Perth
following speculation about the fate of the Super Rugby club.

Under the deal, the club’s players and
professional staff will become employees of the ARU as the governing body
integrates Force’s professional rugby programme into its high performance

The agreement comes after weeks of talks
between the ARU and the Western Australia Rugby Union (RugbyWA) over financial
problems stemming from poor results, and follows calls for the team to be moved
from the western city to Australian rugby’s east coast heartland.

“RugbyWA and the Force are not
alone in their challenges to remain viable as a professional sports entity in
Australia,” ARU chief executive Bill Pulver said.

“Numerous teams across several codes
are facing the same economic environment across professional sport and the ARU
has been looking at ways to create a more efficient and effective way to run
our Super Rugby businesses.”

He added: “The other really important
outcome is that the Western Force will continue to be deeply entrenched in the
Perth community.”

Under the alliance, the RugbyWA board will
continue to be responsible for the community game in Western Australia.

Force have struggled in recent
Super Rugby seasons and have won just two of their 12 games during the current
campaign to lie only above tournament newcomers the Sunwolves and Kings.

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