A Senate committee will inquire into the future of rugby union in Australia, a day after the ARU’s victory in its fight to axe the Western Force from Super Rugby.
West Australian Liberal senator Linda Reynolds’s motion was carried on Wednesday after RugbyWA lost its battle in the NSW Supreme Court on Tuesday to retain the Force.
Senator Reynolds was critical of the decision-making process used by the Australia Rugby Union, and also the governing body’s lack of transparency.
“Western Force is the nation’s third-largest rugby playing community, and its removal from the national competition will leave Australian rugby all the poorer,” Senator Reynolds said.
“The reasoning behind this decision must be explained and made public.”
The Community Affairs References Committee will put rugby union under the microscope and report by November 13.
The inquiry will look at:
ARU board deliberations leading to the decision to reduce Australian teams from five to four
Whether there continues to be a truly national rugby footprint in Australia
The role of national and state-based bodies in encouraging greater national participation in rugby
The corporate governance arrangements and composition of national and state-based rugby bodies, including community representation on those bodies
The impact of the decision to reduce the number of Australian teams on national participation in rugby.
The WA government has also threatened to sue the ARU for more than $100 million over the decision to remove the Force.
The state spent $95 million a few years ago, upgrading the Force’s home venue nib Stadium, in addition to contributing millions of dollars towards building the headquarters of RugbyWA.
WA Premier Mark McGowan hopes a rebel competition, to be set up by mining billionaire Andrew Forrest, will cause the ARU to suffer after its treatment of WA taxpayers.