Rebels owners won't sell licence to ARU
NEWS: The Melbourne Rebels have demanded that the Australian Rugby Union put an end to the speculation surrounding their Super Rugby future.
The Melbourne side also made it clear that they will not be selling the franchise back to the ARU.
The Super Rugby tournament will be cut from 18 to 15 teams in 2018 with South Africa losing two teams and Australia one.
Earlier this year the ARU announced that the Rebels or the Western Force will be cut from Super Rugby.
"The Melbourne Rebels wish to reiterate its clear legal position that the ARU has no legal right to 'cut' them as a team in the Super Rugby Competition," the Rebels said via a statement on Friday.
"The ARU must come out and publicly put an end to the speculation. For the avoidance of any doubt whatsoever, neither the Melbourne Rebels nor its owners will engage with the ARU in relation to the sale or cancellation of its Super Rugby licence.
"On 10 April 2017, Cameron Clyne Chairman of the ARU announced that either the Melbourne Rebels or the Western Force would be “cut” within 48-72 hours despite having no contractual or legal ability to do this."
The Rebels said the whole debacle is having a negative impact on their team
"The Melbourne Rebels made a statement on Good Friday of its position and requested that the ARU come out and immediately state that it could not 'cut' the Rebels. We are now five weeks further into the 2017 season with no statement from the ARU. The ongoing speculation concerning our future has tested the resolve of the team, our sponsors, our members and our fans. The ARU actions are not only impacting our 2017 season, they are now impacting our 2018 season.
"The Melbourne Rebels are a key tenant in one of the world's greatest sporting precincts and we intend on representing professional rugby in Melbourne for a long time to come. The Melbourne Rebels acknowledge the strong support given by the Victorian Government to the team and rugby in the State.
"We ask our fans, supporters and members to get behind the Melbourne Rebels and demonstrate that rugby is alive and thriving in Melbourne, Victoria, the sporting capital of the world, at our next home game against the Crusaders on Saturday, May 27.
"We thank them all for their ongoing support and encourage them to continue to stand with us," the statement added.