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No decision on Melbourne Super 15 team

11/09/2009 06:46:58 PM Comments (0)

The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) has failed to reach a decision on which Victorian rugby consortium will head Australia's bid to become the 15th Super rugby team in 2011.

After an ugly bid process, a reduced eight-man ARU board was expected to give the nod to either the VRU-backed Melbourne Rebels Rugby Union or VicSuper15 for the right to set up Australia's fifth Super rugby franchise in Melbourne in 2011.

But after hearing the Melbourne franchises presentations at a board meeting in Sydney on Friday, the ARU said in a statement it would make a final decision on September 25, when submissions close to SANZAR.

The successful Victorian bid team will go head-to-head with South Africa's Southern Kings, from the heavily-populated Eastern Cape region, for the new 15th licence, playing out of the five-team Australian conference in the expanded 2011 competition.

The ARU said in a statement on Friday:

"The ARU Board and Management will now continue its work with all interested parties, including the Victorian Government, on an appropriate ownership model," the statement said.

"However, a decision on the final ownership structure is not required before the Melbourne application is unveiled to the SANZAR executive committee in two weeks.

"ARU is already well advanced, and working with the Victorian Government, in preparing to present the application for Melbourne as per the requirement for National Unions to deliver the formal submissions to SANZAR.

"ARU also wants to clarify a key point: ARU has no intention of owning the Melbourne team."

SANZAR, currently negotiating with News Corporation for a new broadcast rights deal, will make a decision on the awarding of the licence on October 21.

The ARU management two weeks ago recommended the VicSuper15 consortium, backed by Sydney mining identity Kevin Moloney, be given the licence, with the VRU to have no involvement other than a seat on the board.

It had been expected that the ARU board would endorse management's decision on Friday.

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