O'Neill to steer Reds lurching ship - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

O'Neill to steer Reds lurching ship

By Jim Morton 05/03/2010 10:01:19 PM Comments (0)

The Australian Rugby Union will step in to help right the near-broke Queensland Reds after the QRU board ceded its powers on Friday.

Queensland Rugby directors voted unanimously to accept an ARU proposal to assist the state union amid growing financial pressures.

A five-man Special Executive Committee (SEC), to be chaired by ARU supremo John O'Neill and comprising representatives from both unions, will be established to run and review the business.

The SEC is expected to contain QRU chairman Rod McCall and chief executive Jim Carmichael who first appealed for financial assistance last month.

The ARU will also assist in the short-term by pre-paying scheduled grants.

"We are grateful that the ARU has been able to agree to our request for assistance and we look forward to working with them to put the ship back on an even keel," said McCall.

"We will now devote our energies to rebuilding the business to make it economically strong again."

The move comes almost 10 years after the ARU took over the running of NSW Rugby for three years from September 2000.

But while its board has delegated its powers to the SEC, the QRU is adamant they will be at the table running the Reds and the state's rugby programs.

Queensland has struggled on and off the field for several years and their full-time move to the expensive Suncorp Stadium in 2006 has further drained its finances due to poor Reds results, crowds and revenue.

The lease agreement expires this year and there has been considerable community pressure for the Reds to return to Ballymore to play their home Super 15 matches from 2011.

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