Super Rugby

Brumbies lose their CEO and Speight for 8 weeks




The Brumbies have had an awful start to the week as they have stood down their CEO Michael Jones and winger Henry Speight has been ruled out for up to eight weeks.

Brumbies boss Jones was interviewed on Radio over the weekend after calling in the Australian Federal Police last year to look into the sale of the club’s headquarters in Griffith in 2013.

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Jones has said in the past that he had found several “anomalies” in the sale which he referred to forensic accountants KPMG, who then concluded it should be further investigated by authorities.

Police are believed to be examining up to 50,000 emails and documents from 2009-2013 relating to the deal in which they sold their Griffith base was sold for $11.375 million – before Jones was appointed CEO. .

In the interview over the weekend Jones said that people who are “nervous and uncomfortable” about the Police investigation had responded by “throwing mud” and spreading “lies, myths and fairytales” and that he had been restrained from fighting back for legal reasons.

Jones went on to say that if his detractors did not back off he would wage a war on them,

“If it persists, it’s not a veiled threat it’s a very real threat, I only know how to act and that is you can’t fight half a war,” Jones told ABC Grandstand.

“So if I go to war, it’s going to be ugly and there are going to be a lot of people who get burned by it. I desperately don’t want to do that, so all I’m asking is for the people out there who are having a hack at me, they know who they are, back off.

“I think this cancer that’s currently affecting us is only bad for the Brumbies and unless it’s turned around, is ultimately going to be terminal for the Brumbies. You just can’t withstand this stuff perpetually, it will eat away at the organisation.”

Jones suggested that the Brumbies could collapse which would bring the ARU into default with SANZAAR as they have an agreement to field five teams each week.

“It will have a major impact on Australian rugby, because if the Brumbies cease to be an entity, which is one of the very foreseeable outcomes — and has been a stated outcome of some of the people having a hack at us — if that is allowed to happen, the ARU will be in default of the SANZAAR agreement, because they are required to field five teams every week,” Jones said.

Australian Rugby boss Bill Pulver flew to Canberra on Monday where he met with Brumbies board members and on Monday evening it was announced that the Canberra franchise had stood Jones down from his position as CEO of the ACT & Southern NSW Rugby Union.

In a statement from Brumbies Chairman Robert Kennedy he said that Craig Leseberg, General Manager – Community Rugby will act as interim CEO.

“It was with great regret that I informed Michael of the Board’s decision. However, I believe this decision is in the best long term interests of the Brumbies. I also want to reassure our business partners, stakeholders, players, staff and members that the Board has full confidence in the remaining executive management team within the Brumbies and our current financial position to continue operations throughout the 2016 season.”

“We are immensely proud of our Rugby program at the Brumbies and once again we’ve had a positive start to the season both in terms of on-field results and crowd support. I would ask all Brumbies fans to rally behind the team and continue to show their support in what we hope will be another successful year.”

Meanwhile it has been revealed that winger Speight fractured the front-bone in his face in the Brumbies loss to the Stormers and will return to Australia to meet with surgeons.

Speight is expected to miss up to eight weeks and he sustained the injury when he clashed head with Brumbies co-captain Christian Lealiifano

There is a fracture in the bone above his left eye and the injury has put his Australian sevens Rio Olympic Games hopes in doubt.

“It’s a shame to lose Henry, he’s obviously a world-class winger,” Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“The crack is above the left eyebrow, it’s a nasty fracture but there’s no danger in him flying so he’ll meet with the surgeon and see where we need to go.”

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