Sport

Western Force given right to appeal axing

Billionaire and philanthropist Andrew Forrest is fighting against the axing of the Western Force from Super Rugby.
Billionaire and philanthropist Andrew Forrest is fighting against the axing of the Western Force from Super Rugby. Justin Chadwick

THE fight to axe the Western Force from Super Rugby looks headed for the courts after the club was granted the right to appeal the Australian Rugby Union's decision.

Justice David Hammerschlag of the New South Wales state Supreme Court on Wednesday said he had read written submissions from both the Force and the ARU and he believed an appeal should be heard.

The Supreme Court judge said he would start listening to the appeal immediately, but a decision might not be announced until next week.

Force backers RugbyWA made the argument that the ARU had no right to axe the Perth- based franchise under the terms of the alignment deal that was struck last year.

That deal, which had effectively been a takover, the ARU was said to have guaranteed the Force's future until at least the end of the broadcast deal in 2020.

The Australian Rugby Union, however, said in arbitration that the broadcast deal had since been renegotiated as the Supoer Rugby competition will now be cut from 18 teams down to 15.

Billionaire businessman Andrew Forrest said last week he would back any appeal the Western Force made.

South Africa's Cheetahs and Kings were also axed as part of the shake-up, with the South African franchises set to join Europe's Pro14 competition.

Topics:  andrew forrest australian rugby union super rugby western force

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