Forrest to pursue Indo-Pacific competition

3:41 AM BST

Billionaire mining magnate Andrew Forrest plans to start an Indo-Pacific rugby competition after the NSW Supreme Court upheld the decision to axe Western Force from Super Rugby.

Judge David Hammerschlag on Tuesday morning ruled in favour of the Australian Rugby Union, the same result that arbitration proceedings reached last month.

But the battle shows no signs of ending, with Forrest reaffirming his promise to start a breakaway Indo-Pacific rugby competition should the club decide not to pursue further legal proceedings in the NSW Court of Appeal.


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“Out of great disappointment comes equal or greater opportunity, that in the hottest fires is forged the strongest metal and it is in this environment, and it with this strength and with this determination that I say to players in the Western Force and beyond, and supporters of rugby in Australia and beyond, this is the beginning of the new Force, this is the beginning of the new Indo-Pacific competition and I am delighted to be an instigator of it,” Forrest told a packed media gathering in Perth.

“I will be releasing details immediately, of the initial administration structure, and can ensure all of you that discussions have commenced across the world and within our own state and country, to ensure this competition starts, and starts strongly so that by the time 2020 rolls around when the Western Force should have had its day, should have had its years, should have no doubt, I think, if allowed, if not so hideously cut down by the chairman of the ARU, who made a very poor financial decision.

“He should have stayed with running a bank I think, made a poor financial decision to shrink the game, to not approach people like me, to run down an offer for $50M, which is without record or precedent in Australian sport, to not grow the game but to shrink it, I consider that a very poor decision. I again call for the ARU chairman [Cameron Clyne] to follow the honourable path of his chief executive and resign.”

Forrest also again called for a senate enquiry into how the ARU reached its decision to cut the Force, a ruling RugbyWA insists was made as early as February.

Western Force fans shows their support for the club, and disdain for the ARU Paul Kane/Getty Images

But he insisted it was a watershed moment for rugby in Australia.

“Let me assure you that this is not a great day for the ARU, but this is a great day for Australian rugby.”

Forrest said he had the support of ARU directors to grow the game through the Asia Pacific region and that he had already been engaged by various parties interested in fielding a team.

“It will involve key countries across the Indo-Pacific region who have approached us or have already publicly stated their deep conviction to rugby if they could be included in an Indo-Pacific arena, and I will be including them.”

A teary Matt Hodgson also fronted the media, saying the Force’s players continued to mount a united front and that the ARU could learn a thing or two from the way the group had conducted itself over the course of the saga.

“You see what it means to people, you give 12 years serving the state, serving the country, and they take it away from a stupid lettering of the law,” Hodgson said. “But we’re lucky we’ve got people here fighting; pity the ARU didn’t fight for us.

“[It’s] Annoying, frustrated; the playing group, the fans; we’re all here together and that’s what makes it all worthwhile fighting for each other.”

Hodgson also hit out at the lack of contact from the governing body, saying he’d received no phone call despite giving 12 years’ service to the game in Australia.

When asked if fans should wear blue, representing the Force, at Saturday’s Test between the Wallabies and Springboks in Perth, Hodgson suggested they don black for a “day of mourning”.

Source Article from http://www.espn.co.uk/rugby/story/_/id/20581977/andrew-forrest-start-indo-pacific-rugby-competition-force-appeal-fails
Forrest to pursue Indo-Pacific competition
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