Force CEO attacks ARU support for new Super 14 team



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Western Force chief executive Peter O’Meara has knocked the ARU over their support for the new Super 14 team.

“There has been no help from the ARU,” he said. “You wonder if they do really want rugby to be a national game. They open a new shopfront and there is no marketing budget, there has been no additional assistance.

“It’s like they’ve just said, ‘The new franchise is yours, good luck’ and then just walked away. We struggle to get assistance, understanding and empathy.”

“They open a new business and they cut back the budget from $300,000 to $200,000,” he said.”That’s not what you want to do if you are going to be successful.”There is a whole new market for the sport out here but they don’t seem to want to do it.

“We’re trying to promote the game in a market where we are not the major sport and we need more help.”

“(Flowers) has some empathy but I don’t think the ARU board with their members from NSW and Queensland do,” O’Meara said.

“I can’t understand how a sport that turns over $80 million a year can only give us $200,000 in funding. NSW get $2.8m and I know they are the biggest state, but surely we deserve more.

“We’re not in a position to make a huge investment in the sport out here but the ARU is, and that’s what they need to do if they want the Force and rugby to be a success in WA.

“For us it has just become a matter of suck it and see, just to get the side up and running . . . where rugby will end up in 10 years, I’m not sure, but if we want to turn it into a national sport, more has to be done.

“We need to have foresight and vision. Look at what the AFL does and how they invested in new markets such as Sydney.

“They have spent megabucks to grow the sport and it’s worked.”They have funded whole academies. Unfortunately, rugby takes a more myopic view.”

Last week The Western Force announced that they now have 20 000 members making them the largest Super 14 side in Australia.

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