23/03/2017 - 12:05

Western Force prospectus hits market

23/03/2017 - 12:05

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The Western Force is calling on the public to purchase $10 million worth of shares in the club in what it has labelled a “last call” to save it from being cut from the Super Rugby competition.

Western Force prospectus hits market
Rugby WA chairman Tony Howarth. Photo: Attila Csaszar

The Western Force is calling on the public to purchase $10 million worth of shares in the club in what it has labelled a “last call” to save it from being cut from the Super Rugby competition.

The Western Force has created a public company, Western Force Owners Limited, and has invited the public to purchase 10,000 A-class shares for $1,000 each, through the release of a prospectus today.

It follows a reiteration by the body that operates the Super Rugby and Rugby Championship competitions, SANZAAR, last week that it was possible that an Australian team would be cut from the competition.

Rugby WA chairman (and also WFO chairman) Tony Howarth said it was time for sports fans to get behind rugby and help save the Force by buying up the shares.

About 5,000 people have registered their interest in owning a stake in the club in recent months, Mr Howarth said.

At least one person has even committed to buying 10 shares at a total cost of $10,000.

The Force need to sell a minimum of 5,000 shares over the next four months for the new ownership model to go ahead.

If the Force can raise the minimum of $5 million needed, it would give them enough funds to buy back the franchise from the Australian Rugby Union, which took ownership last year.

Owners of the shares would also be entitled to a number of benefits including registration, membership and merchandise discounts.

“The support to date has shown the strength of the Western Australian rugby community,” Mr Howarth said.

“Players and the club are thrilled, but now it’s crunch time, and we need more West Aussies to get behind the future of the club.

He said the investments would allow WFO to begin negotiations with the ARU for the Western Force operating licence.

“If we are successful in securing the licence fans will own the club and we’ll have the rights to operate a professional Western Australian team that can participate in the Super Rugby competition,” Mr Howarth said.

No definitive timeline has been set by SANZAAR and the ARU to make any decisions about possible franchise axings.

It means Force fans are being asked to put money forward for a share without knowing whether their team will get the axe or not.

But Mr Howarth assured fans that if the team does get axed, all money will be refunded on purchased shares.

Force skipper Ben McCalman said he and the rest of the player group had committed to buying shares.

Application forms are expected to be released next week.

Mr Howarth conceded the Force had been run on life support for the majority of its existence, but hopes the new ownership model will help turn the franchise into a powerhouse, both on and off the field.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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