ARU denies Vic Rugby snub - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

ARU denies Vic Rugby snub

By Melissa Woods 28/08/2009 05:42:34 PM Comments (0)

The Australian Rugby Union has denied snubbing the Victorian Rugby Union as it attempts to facilitate the country's bid for the new Super 15 rugby license.

However, the head of one of the three Melbourne syndicates, A-League soccer team Melbourne Victory owner Geoff Lord, confirmed on Friday his Belgravia Group had been asked to support the VicSuper15 consortium, leaving the VRU on the outer.

The VRU claimed the ARU had awarded the Sydney-backed VicSuper15 group control of the Melbourne bid with the state union, which controls rugby in Victoria, to have little input.

The ARU has been working to bring the three Melbourne bidders together to form a united front to take on the South African bid for the new license, with SANZAR due to make a decision in October.

The ARU issued a statement on Friday denying any decisions had been made on the governance structure of the proposed Melbourne entity.

"The ARU Board will discuss and decide early next week on the roles and responsibilities the various parties will be invited to take if Melbourne is anointed as the 15th team by SANZAR," the statement said.

However, Lord said he believed VicSuper15 would lead the bid, with his own syndicate also involved.

The VicSuper15 group contains three dissident ex-VRU directors, Craig Dunn, Glenn Fowles and Nick Farnan, is backed by Sydney-based mining services mogul Kevin Maloney and is to be chaired by former ARU director Bob Dalziel.

"They (the ARU) contacted me to say they were using a structure called the VicSuper15 and that they would encourage me to be part of that," Lord said on Friday.

"They've indicated that the VRU breakaway group (VicSuper15) and Belgravia are the ones being encouraged mainly."

Lord said he had heard nothing official from the ARU but confirmed the trio had been unable to work together.

"The ARU confirmed its support for Melbourne and then spent time with all three of the syndicates talking to them separately and collectively," said Lord, who is also chairman of the Melbourne Victory.

"Those meetings took place last week ... and the ARU's express intent was to get all of the Melbourne applicants to work together.

"We indicated that we were happy to work with either or both the other syndicates.

"The other syndicates individually both expressed their intent that they were happy to work with the Geoff Lord group, but weren't happy to work with each other.

"I was told by the ARU they were happy with my involvement but they were having difficulty with the other two and therefore I was no longer required at the meeting because they were going to try and thrash out some arrangements between the two.

"I have not spoken to the ARU since then."

VRU bid chairman and media buying giant Harold Mitchell reportedly said he would withdraw his financial support, however Lord wasn't concerned by that.

"Harold and I are great mates so he'll probably come in with me anyway, he's a shareholder in Melbourne Victory," Lord said.

"The VRU might have their nose out of joint ... I think it will get resolved fairly easily.

"If they want to participate, they can just come in with me.

"I don't need to own it, all I'm interested in is getting top level sport to Melbourne."

VRU president Gary Gray could not be contacted for comment.

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