The McGowan Government has thrown its full support behind the Western Force as the club determines its next course of action, in response to the Australian Rugby Union's (ARU) decision to cancel its Super Rugby licence.
- McGowan Government backs Western Force in any potential appeal
- 2019 Bledisloe Cup payments were offered in advance to ARU in support of Force
- McGowan Government to investigate undertakings given by the ARU.
At the request of the ARU, the McGowan Government recently agreed to bring forward payments to the ARU for Perth to host the 2019 Bledisloe Cup, subject to the Western Force remaining in Super Rugby.
The McGowan Government will also thoroughly investigate undertakings given by the ARU which underpinned past investment decisions by Western Australian taxpayers towards rugby in WA.
Since 2006, the State Government has invested more than $135 million into the Western Force and Western Australian rugby, including $95 million to upgrade nib Stadium, $17 million into the Western Force headquarters, and $25 million towards the team's Super Rugby licence.
Comments attributed to Sport and Recreation Minister Mick Murray:
"This is not over yet. Our understanding is the Force is considering a Supreme Court appeal and we will provide non-monetary support in any potential action.
"The ARU's decision is bitterly disappointing. The McGowan Government has done everything the ARU has asked to try and resolve the matter, including bringing Bledisloe Cup 2019 payments forward at the ARU's request.
"We have written to the ARU on a number of occasions to try and resolve the matter but never even received a response.
"The Premier called the CEO of the ARU when this issue first came up and lobbied for the Force to remain in the competition.
"WA has a very strong and passionate rugby community who have supported the Force despite the ARU's undermining efforts.
"We will be thoroughly investigating every undertaking given by the ARU which underpinned investment decisions by State governments past and present. Western Australian taxpayers invested millions into WA rugby in good faith and we won't give up.