Rebels slam Australian Rugby Union

12:59 PM GMT

Melbourne Rebels have broken their silence on the decision by Sanzaar and the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) to “cut or chop” a Super Rugby team as they seek compensation.

After Sanzaar’s announcement that two Super Rugby teams from South Africa and one from Australia would be axed, the ARU came out saying that a decision would be made within 72 hours on which team from Australia would exit the competition.

However, legal action brought by Western Force and the Rebels have seen the ARU backtrack, stating they would “undertake due process” to give both teams the opportunity to make a case for their continued involvement in Super Rugby.

Last Sunday, the Rebels were told that they or Force would be the team ejected from Super Rugby with the Brumbies safe — but the team says that was “contrary” to previous advice from the ARU.

Rebels’ statement questioned the “legal right” of the ARU to cut the team, adding that it went against the constitution of the union.

They say concerns that the “ARU did not believe for many years in the 5 team model and did not believe that model was financially viable” was never conveyed to Imperium Sports Management before they acquired the Rebels.

Rebels say they have suffered “financial, reputational, commercial and personal” damage at the hands of the ARU and have “notified the ARU of its intention to seek compensation.”

With regards to broadcast money, the statement objected to the fact that “the ARU arbitrarily takes the surplus funds [$6.0m] resulting from this decision” and as it is generated by Super Rugby teams should go back into the competition licence holders.

On the question of the competition not delivering for fans or viewers, the Rebels were disappointed that two further rounds were not added to the competition so that all teams could face each other, as they asked the ARU to put an end to the ongoing saga.

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