Well readers, a couple of weeks after his dramatic declaration to save the Force, Andrew Forrest has backed his words with action. And dollars.
In a move which puts the heat on the ARU to abandon tomorrow’s scheduled arbitration hearing, Twiggy has moved to ensure the Force’s financial viability by effectively underwriting the success of the Own The Force campaign.
Go you good thing!!
Here’s what the iron ore magnate will tell the world today:
Andrew Forrest AO has called on ARU to lead, not just litigate.
There are clear solutions available to encourage rugby across Australia and support the most viable, strongest teams. This should be sorted out in meeting rooms not court rooms
Western Australian of the Year, Mr Andrew Forrest AO, has called on the Australian Rugby Union to declare its support for the Western Force after an unprecedented show of grassroots support for the club.
The ‘Own the Force’ campaign has had a stunning response with 4,700 people committing to fund the club, to the tune of $8 million.
Mr Forrest has thrown the full spectrum of support into saving the Western Force. This now includes offering unsecured and interest free loans to those supporters who really want to join the ‘Own the Force’ fund but can’t afford to. The loans would then be repaid to Rugby WA, not to Mr Forrest.
Mr Forrest said he was humbled by the passion Western Australians have shown for ensuring the Western Force not only survived but thrived.
“I have not had to pick up the phone. Business leaders have been calling me,” Mr Forrest said. “Support has also come from ordinary folk, from all over the state, who don’t even follow rugby. Like me, they have been inspired by this incredible grassroots movement to save the Western Force.”
Mr Forrest called on the ARU to explore all options of club mergers before making any decision to axe a club.
This includes the potential of the ACT Brumbies to take over the Rebels. This option would allow the Brumbies to expand its sponsorship base. It includes a plan for a rugby academy in Melbourne for a player pathway to the Brumbies.
Mr Forrest said this plan needed to be explored properly but he believed it could be a potential win-win for everybody.
“It will bolster the rugby culture in Victoria, giving players there access to one of the best teams in the country,” Mr Forrest said. “It will allow the Brumbies to broaden their sponsorship appeal and it will, importantly, allow the Western Force to continue to grow its incredible support base.
Another option could also see the Western Force merge with the Rebels. Again, with the ARU supporting a rugby academy in Victoria and having a player pathway to the Western Force. The benefits to both states would be similar again.
“I know the ARU will make the right call on this for the sake of the future of rugby, as a truly national sport. I look forward to working with them to achieve this.”