Andrew Forrest Statement

Today Western Australian of the Year, Mr Forrest AO said the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) continues to show itself to be totally incapable of explaining the deliberate harm it has done to the reputation of Australian sport – rugby in particular, through its illogical decision to axe the Western Force.

“I, like members of the sporting community all over Australia, demand a complete overhaul of the board,” Mr Forrest said.

“The ARU insists the process used, to choose a team to axe, was critical to the future of Australian rugby,” Mr Forrest said. “However, if such a decision was made through an unfair and, what is emerging slowly to light, a secretive process then the Chair, and the remaining board members, must stand aside immediately.”

The selection process, and board discussion, was made when one director – a Western Australian – was constantly excluded. This was not a fair and open decision and the Western Force have been denied the most basic principles of transparency and natural justice.

Geoff Stooke quit the board in protest of the decision to axe the Western Force – the country’s second most successful team and one that has produced no less than six Wallabies this year.

Mr Forrest said the ARU board has not published its reasons for its decision because it knows that it will be vilified for its lack of even the most basic credibility.
It’s time to appoint an independent board to allow Super Rugby to have a chance to repair and to succeed and, that means, with the Western Force firmly in place.