Australian Super15 bidder withdraws bid

The ARU has lost one of the key financial backers for the proposed Melbourne Super 15 team following VicSuper15’s decision to withdraw its interest because of dissatisfaction with the Super 15 bid process.

The Australian Newspaper reports that they understand that the VicSuper15 directors, including mining magnate Kevin Maloney, will not invest in the new private ownership model to be created by the ARU for the Super 15 team.

There have been varying reports about how much money Maloney would inject into the team, ranging from $400,000 to $2million a year.

The ARU has appointed Melbourne merchant banker John Wylie to construct the ownership model.

The VicSuper15 group was unhappy with the way the ARU handled the bid process, which also included Melbourne Rebels (in conjunction with the Victorian Rugby Union) and Geoff Lord’s Belgravia Group.

ARU management had agreed to award the Melbourne licence to VicSuper15, but the ARU board did not ratify the decision.

The ARU is now managing Melbourne’s application to SANZAR, which is due tomorrow.

“VicSuper15 proposed forming a strategic alliance with the VRU including a seat on the board,” VicSuper15 spokesman Travis Atkins said in a statement released by The Australian.

“To date, there has been significant conflict of interest in the bidding process as a result of the VRU’s position of supporting only one party and not being prepared to establish a separation between commercial and community rugby in line with ARU policy.

“To signal its dissatisfaction with the handling of the bid process and to avoid a perception of continuing conflict by the VRU, VicSuper15 has formally withdrawn from the process.”

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