ARU reiterates Giteau will have to honour contract


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The Australian Rugby Union has reiterated that flyhalf Matt Giteau will not be allowed an early release from his contract to take up a near-10 million Australian dollar ($6.5 million) offer to play for French club Bayonne.

“I think it’s pretty cut and dried as far as we’re concerned, a contract is a contract,” ARU chief executive John O’Neill said Thursday.

“He has a commitment to play in Australia until the end of 2011 and one more year with Western Force. It’s not that we’re wishing to be difficult, it’s just a statement of fact.”


Giteau, who plays with the Perth-based Force in the Super 14 tournament, has been offered a reported AU$9.6 million to AU$9.8 million over four years by Bayonne.

O’Neill said it would be irresponsible of the ARU to allow its players to move overseas and weaken the Super 14 competition.

“It would be cavalier of the ARU to say ‘you can go and play overseas and we’ll do what soccer does and just pick you even though you’re playing overseas’,” O’Neill said.

“Can you imagine the effect that would have on Super 14, where over a period of 13 years that’s been the standout provincial rugby tournament in the world because it’s had the best players in the world playing in it? O’Neill said the global financial crisis might alleviate the situation.

“We really want to resist the forces of capitalism coming out of the French clubs and the English clubs, and I suspect the bubble’s going to burst as a result of this economic downturn in any case,” O’Neill said.

“We’re steadfast in retaining our best players, we do pay them well, and with our plans to expand Super rugby and innovations we’re introducing, I think we’ll be able to resist the pull of French and English clubs.”

Sapa-AP –

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