Bill Pulver quits after axing the Force

The Western Force have been on the chopping block for months and their demise was confirmed on Friday

The Western Force have been on the chopping block for months and their demise was confirmed on Friday

Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver has blown the whistle on his own job, just hours after the ARU controversially announced it was axing the Western Force from the Super Rugby competition.

The ARU agreed to cut one of its five franchises during a meeting of Super Rugby stakeholders in April, when it was made a decision to reduce the competition from 18 clubs to 15 for next season.

Under the plan to restructure the competition and reduce the number of teams from 18 to 15, the ARU is required to remove one franchise, while South Africa's representation will drop to four teams.

The ARU's decision means Melbourne Rebels, the other Australian team in the firing line, appear to have earned a stay of execution.

"We are regretful that this issue has consumed so much of the public commentary on the game in 2017".

The Force argued the agreement they signed when they were bailed out by the ARU previous year guaranteed them Super Rugby until the end of the current broadcasting deal in 2020.

"RugbyWA remains committed to pursuing every possible means to ensure the Western Force remains a Super Rugby team in Perth", a Rugby WA media release read.

Asked why the Force asked were cut rather than the Rebels, Pulver said: "We did an exhaustive analysis, a massive spreadsheet on all the variables that went into this decision".

"RugbyWA is considering all options including bringing urgent proceedings in the Supreme Court of New South Wales, and legal action relating to the circumstances which led it to enter into the Alliance Agreement with the ARU".

Nobody from the Western Force was immediately available for comment.

The fight from Western Australia might not yet be over, however.

The Force were an expansion team aimed at spreading the geographic imprint of rugby to the Australia's west coast when they joined the competition in 2006.

"Sports is a hard business and we have had a hard year".

"Players, staff and their families at the Western Force have been put under unprecedented and, quite frankly, completely unreasonable duress throughout this ridiculous and destructive process".

With Forrest throwing his weight behind the team, the battle over the future of the Force could still be dragged out in a long legal battle the cash-strapped ARU can ill afford. We have staff in Perth and are in regular contact with all contracted players at the Force and their respective agents.

"I am very very sorry for all the people affected by this in Western Australia".

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