Letter from RugbyWA Chairman, Tony Howarth

Letter from RugbyWA Chairman, Tony Howarth

You will all be well aware that the arbitration hearing between the ARU and RugbyWA was held this week. The ARU continue to pursue either the elimination of the Melbourne Rebels or our own Road Safety Western Force from the Super Rugby competition. They have widely announced that they have no plan B and are anticipating to announce their position in the next few weeks.
You may have also heard that WA business leader and prominent Force supporter Andrew Forrest has agreed to support our cause, to ensure the Road Safety Western Force remain in Western Australia. Andrew firmly believes that the Force should be managed in WA by the rugby community through the Western Force Owners Limited initiative. We are receiving great support from Andrew and I am confident that the whole Western Australian rugby community feels as strongly as he does to fight for the team. We must continue to fight together to save the Road Safety Western Force.
Since the first indication that we were targeted for the axe we engaged Lavan, together with the support of two prominent Western Australian Senior Counsel, to develop our strategy and defence. We still maintain we have a strong legal position. However, the process has dragged on and the legal representatives of the ARU continue to attempt to attack us in every imaginable way. We remain confident that the determination of the arbitration process will see us successful in our case and complete a milestone which will then enable us to commence negotiations with the ARU to recover our Super Rugby License and set about planning our future.
However, none of us predicted that this farce could drag out for so long and in the process require such significant legal defence. Though significantly subsidised, we have and will continue to incur costs defending our position and, with this in mind, we need to secure a Fighting Fund to cover these legal costs. Our current accrued cost is $350,000 and we anticipate at this stage total costs running up to $650,000 to defend our position. It is our intention after victory to seek costs recovery directly from the ARU as part of our final negotiations. However, we cannot be guaranteed of that outcome.
So, in a nutshell, this email requests your support to help us cover the costs of the legal case by contributing to our Fighting Fund. Please note, in circumstances where we are able to recover any legal costs in the future, these funds will be used to fund the future operations of RugbyWA
Anything you can do to support us is greatly appreciated.
We would also appreciate you sharing this with Rugby supporters at large.

Please note, all transfers should identify you with your Surname, Initials and the following reference information “1156288 Western Force Fund“. If that is too large for your Bank, which it was when I made my contribution, I put in 1156288 WFF” then included most of my name.
St George Bank
Account name: Lavan Law Practice Trust Account
BSB 336 065
Account 551 206 056

Happy to talk with any of you if you wish to give me a call.

Kind regards,
Tony Howarth
Chairman, RugbyWA
0419 812 838