Third party scandal hits Force




Scandal has hit the Perth’s Super 14 franchise, the Western Force, over the controversial third party payments made to their contracted players.

It is general practice in Australian rugby for a third party to help contract a player for a franchise, thereby inducing a player to play for a franchise that may not have been able to afford his services.

In the Force’s case, Perth’s monolithic fuel company, Firepower, is involved in third party payments for high profile players such as Matt Giteau.

But the Australian Rugby Union’s (ARU) ruling is that franchise officials are not allowed to actively procure those third party payments, as this would see the mixing of Rugby Union governance with big business.

On Saturday, the Sydney Morning Herald broke the story that the Australian newspaper had seen documents which confirmed that Force Chief Executive Peter O’Meara had signed off as an intermediary on some of his franchise’s third party deals.

O’Meara told the newspaper that he vehemently denied the allegations.

“Any arrangement that Firepower has negotiated with sports people, Western Force, ARU or cricket or racing, they have all been done through that organisation, not through me,” he said.

“I haven’t facilitated any of those relationships.”

The Force have already fallen foul with the ARU for some of their recruitment strategies.

An ARU inquiry into the alleged wooing of the Waratah forward Al Kanaar, who was seen at a Force game, led to a AUS$110 000 fine last May. In an appeal in June the fine was reduced and part of it suspended.

Firepower management have refused to comment on their relationships with any sportsmen.

The company is also involved in motorsport, Tongan rugby, Aussie Rules Football, and rugby league.

Meanwhile, in speaking to the Australian Associated Press, O’meara has hit back at the allegations, hinting that there may be an eastern conspiracy against him, as he aims to become the latest ARU Chief Executive.

“We have complied with all the contracting protocols outlined by the ARU,” O’Meara said.

“We think there might be a disenfranchised player manager, Matt Giteau and his manager are in dispute at the moment.

“I believe they are taking a lot of their information from that player’s manager for whatever reason.

“I think there might be separation between the manager and Matt, and I think the manager may be initiating some action scurrilously.”

“That [document which the Herald saw says]
“We spoke to the ARU this morning, the chairman Peter McGrath, and he has given us his wholehearted support.

“From the ARU point of view they are very satisfied that we complied with all the contracting processes.”

“I have been interviewed for that role, and there maybe people and forces on the east coast of Australia who don’t want to see me succeed in that, who knows,” O’Meara said.

“I can only speculate, but that would be very disappointing if that was the case.”


365 Digital

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.