There are fears for the way forward for Super Rugby’s Melbourne Rebels after as much as $9 million in debt was revealed after a Rugby Australia inspection of the membership’s books.
News Corp reported RA can’t bail out the staff however will make each transfer it may possibly to save lots of the staff from folding, with the organisation determined to stay at 5 groups.
But the report said a compelled merger with the ACT Brumbies, who even have monetary questions, was at the least a chance.
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“Rugby in Victoria is very important to Rugby Australia and it is our intent to continue to have a footprint there in both provincial and Test rugby,” an RA spokesman stated.
“We are working together to overcome the challenges that the Rebels are currently navigating.”
Rebels CEO Baden Stephenson declared the membership will survive.
“I’m absolutely not concerned about the Melbourne Rebels’ ongoing tenure, we’ve got big things coming in 2025 (British & Irish Lions tour) and 2027 (home World Cup), we’ve got a lot to be proud of but also to improve on,” Stephenson stated.
“But we will be fine.
“We’ve been operating with reduced funding due to Covid since November 2020, it’s been challenging no doubt for all Super Rugby clubs. I am confident in the leadership and the board that I’ve got.
“We’re not sitting back and throwing our hands up saying ‘Poor us’. We only just announced a five-year partnership with La Trobe University (on Monday).”
Stephenson went on to say in a separate interview with The Age that he feels as if the Rebels have turn into “scapegoats and [have been hanged] on the cross”.
“All of [the Super Rugby club’s] business models are all under severe pressure, and where that has stemmed from is, like everyone, we had COVID-reduced funding back in March 2020,” he stated.
The Age additionally reported that the Rebels have since written to gamers and workers to guarantee that their jobs will likely be protected in 2024.
One of the Rebels’ main sponsors, BRC Capital, is within the midst of solvency points whereas the membership should pay a major tax invoice in three weeks’ time.
No Rebels workers or gamers are contracted past 2025.
RA’s reliance on funding from the Victorian authorities, and the massive crowd on the Bledisloe Cup Test on the MCG final yr, make the southern state important for the code’s future.