The taking part in way forward for Wallabies stars Taniela Tupou and Andrew Kellaway are up within the air amid studies the cash-strapped Melbourne Rebels have entered voluntary administration needing a bailout of as much as $500,000 to pay gamers and employees.
Less than a month out from their season-opening conflict towards the Brumbies on February 23, the Rebels have appointed exterior monetary advisers, Sydney agency Wexted, to assist tackle the membership’s $9m debt.
It comes amid studies that chairman Paul Docherty is ready to step down, along with his personal private companies flailing and owing at the least $70m.
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Rugby Australia stays dedicated to the Rebels taking part in in 2024, however the future past that would depend on a money injection from the Victorian authorities.
No Rebels gamers or employees are contracted past 2025, together with Tupou, who moved south from the Queensland Reds after the final Super Rugby Pacific season in an enormous coup for the Melbourne outfit.
Tupou was certainly one of seven Rebels gamers, together with scrum-half Carter Gordon, who went to final yr’s World Cup with the Wallabies earlier than returning for pre-season.
Despite the monetary disaster, an assertion confirmed the Rebels would play in 2024, however the “next steps” had been but to be decided.
“We are working with the Rebels on their financial situation and the immediate future,” the assertion mentioned.
“Discussions are ongoing regarding options – and those discussions are confidential in nature.
“We are currently awaiting the advice of the Rebels’ external financial advisers before confirming next steps.
“We are committed to the Melbourne Rebels competing in 2024.”
Last December, a letter was despatched to all gamers and employees assuring them their jobs can be protected as studies emerged concerning the scenario, together with that the membership was behind on funds to the Australian Taxation Office and likewise on stadium charges.
At the time, Rebels chief govt Baden Stephenson rejected unfavorable studies of the membership’s funds.
“I’m absolutely not concerned about the Melbourne Rebels’ ongoing tenure. We’ve got big things coming in 2025 (British and Irish Lions tour) and 2027 (home World Cup), we’ve got a lot to be proud of but also to improve on,” he mentioned in December.
“But we will be fine.”
RA boss Phil Waugh has persistently mentioned the top physique is dedicated to 5 Australian Super Rugby franchises.
“We have said we need to have presence in five markets, and our biggest markets, and so it is our intent to continue on that path. It is our intent to have five teams in five markets,” he mentioned final month.
Five groups are wanted to fulfill the present TV deal, which expires on the finish of the 2025 season.
The Rebels have by no means made the Super Rugby finals in 12 seasons since being introduced into the competitors in 2011.