Super 14 Rugby

Aussie Super teams give backing to privatisation



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Australian Super 14 teams gave their backing to ARU plans to allow private investment in domestic Super Rugby teams in order to secure the long-term future of the game in Australia.


The ARU also said that they would continue to look at expanding Super rugby.

‘We’re extremely excited by the initiatives announced today,’ said Arvid Petersen, Chairman of NSW Rugby.

‘The introduction of private equity is a bold challenge for our game but we have to be bold to stay ahead of the competition.

‘Obviously we would have to be satisfied that the proper checks and balances are put in place to ensure this financial boost is done correctly. We would work together with the ARU on this.

‘The ARU Board has presented a powerful case for change and NSW is fully supportive of the initiatives, especially when it comes to enhancing Super Rugby.’

Mr Petersen said Rugby cannot afford to remain still.

‘We now have a clear national vision for the future,’ added Mr Petersen.

‘A stronger financial base will give NSW Rugby a better platform to feed back to grassroots and hence secure the game’s future.

‘We have some change ahead for Rugby but from the Board’s point of view it’s very optimistic.’

Over in Perth the Force also backed the move and RugbyWA Chairman Geoff Stooke said the proposal to expand the elite rugby calendar is a step in the right direction for the code.

‘I consider the expansion of the elite rugby program an excellent initiative as it will allow more contracted players to participate, with greater opportunities to participate at the elite level,’ said Stooke.

‘In particular, this will assist in the development of Emirates Western Force squad and Academy players,’ he said.

Stooke said the introduction of private equity in Australian Super 14 teams must be tightly controlled by the game’s governing body.

‘The proposal to permit the injection of private equity is something that is a positive, but must be managed carefully to ensure all stakeholders in rugby benefit. Importantly, the ARU has made it very clear that the overall control of the game will remain with the ARU and its Member Unions.’

The Reds in Queensland also backed the move and QRU Chairman Peter Lewis said, “We support the general thrust of the ARU’s strategy and indeed a QRU Board sub-committee has also been exploring for some months the feasibility of introducing private equity involvement into the running of our professional team, the QR Reds,”

“I don’t personally support a single ownership arrangement, but having equity partners injecting risk capital in exchange for a commercial return on their investment is definitely worth exploring,” Mr Lewis said.

“Professionalising the management of a professional team makes good commercial sense.

“However the non-negotiable in all this would be that we achieve a financial balance that enshrines and protects the amateur game and that returns from the professional team’s activities continue to support the grassroots.”

Mr Lewis said Queensland Rugby also fully supported any moves to expand the Investec Super 14 competition.

“Quite simply we need more product at the provincial level to offer the rugby public. It’s not possible to maintain a large professional rugby squad on the returns from six or seven home games a year,” Mr Lewis said.

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