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Rugby Australia left Rebels out in the cold says Foote

REACTION: Melbourne Rebels coach Kevin Foote says his team feel abandoned by Rugby Australia with their future in the Super Rugby Pacific competition still to be decided.


Creditors on Friday voted to accept a rescue proposal by a private investor group rather than liquidate the club, which has debts of more than AU$23 million.

There are still major obstacles to Melbourne remaining part of the Super Rugby Pacific season beyond this year.

Rugby Australia (RA) needs to agree to hand over the competition licence to the consortium, which includes current directors, and the Australian Tax Office must release the directors from their personal liability over the club’s $11.5 million in tax debts.

Given both parties voted against the rescue plan on Friday, the club’s future is still far from certain and could end in legal action which would leave players, coaches and staff in limbo.

Hours after the vote, the team faced the second-ranked Blues and while they only trailed by a point at halftime, fell away to a 11-38 loss.

Foote, who was coaching at the Western Force when they were culled by RA, called for the governing body to show their hand.


“I don’t know what their [RA] intentions are,” Foote told AAP.

“I know they voted liquidation [on Friday] and last week we were told that they were happy that there was a DOCA [Deed Of Company Arrangement] and now liquidation, so it would be great to hear something from them.”

RA has propped up the club this season, taking over the wages bill for players and staff but Foote said head office had offered no support beyond that.

Representative from the Rugby Union Players Association were in Melbourne last week to talk the club through the rescue proposal but RA haven’t been seen since in months.


With four rounds to go before the end of the regular season, Foote said the entire club was feeling the pressure.

He previously said he was hiding the possible demise of the Rebels from his young son because he knew how much the boy would worry.

Foote said staff had one pay cheque left to come from RA.

“Staff and players, it’s the human element,” he said.

“There’s definitely people under massive stress, everyone is under stress as a matter of fact.

“It speaks again to their performance tonight – guys have done this since day one, before even the season kicked off they’ve been under this pressure.

“Are people feeling supported? I’d say no.”

While the Rebels, who were fifth on the ladder heading into the round, are targeting their first finals campaign they are also dealing with other clubs and codes circling their players.

Star playmaker Carter Gordon is believed to be in the sights of a number of NRL clubs, with his management holding talks with the Gold Coast Titans.

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