Brumbies call for SANZAR overhaul after top six debacle

The Brumbies have called for a new independent body to take over the administration of the Super 14 and the Tri Nations competitions after SANZAR shocked everyone by abandoning the plan to have a six team play format in the Super14.

The SANZAR (South Africa, New Zealand and Australia) nations had agreed at a meeting in Perth earlier in the year to expand the finals series from four teams to six in order to add value to the tournament.

However the negotiations came to a head on Tuesday when they announced that the three parties could not agree on the format.

South Africa wanted a conference system to be used, which would have guaranteed a team from each nation hosted a final, regardless of their table ranking.

Australia originally wanted a conference system adopted in the expanded Super 14 but South Africa felt that now was as good a time as any to start using the geographical conference system.

Australia and New Zealand disagreed with the plan to have the top six teams being decided on a geographical basis by saying that whoever finished in the top six would qualify for the play offs.

Since the SANZAR partnership model requires unanimous agreement, any decisions that are split revert to the status quo.

Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan said the decision was ”retrograde” and highlighted the shortcomings of the governance model.

”This shows how ineffective it is. While all of us wanted a six-team series, the failure to agree on it means we’ve effectively taken a step backwards,” Fagan told the Canberra Times.

”The sooner we move to an administration that is free of local interference the better.

”We need an administration like the NRL and the AFL, where clubs’ interests are taken on board and then an administration has the authority to make decisions.”

The expansion to a six-team finals series was seen as a way of reinvigorating the competition which in some areas has seen declines in crowd and TV audience figures.

Fagan said that SANZAR’s decision kept the development of the competition at a standstill until 2010, when a new format could be adopted.

”When the decision was made in July, it was received positively by rugby followers because the benefits are quite clear.”

“It keeps supporters interested for longer, gives another team a chance to host a final and that has financial benefits too.”

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