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Last-ditch deal to save Melbourne Rebels in process but they have to move west

By AAP
Glen Vaihu and the Rebels players run onto the field for the round four Super Rugby Pacific match between Melbourne Rebels and Queensland Reds at AAMI Park, on March 15, 2024, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)

The financially-stricken Melbourne Rebels’ Super Rugby Pacific future may be saved by a private equity-backed consortium which has proposed an alignment with A-League club Western United.

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The Rebels, who sit sixth on the ladder ahead of their AAMI Park clash with the seventh-ranked Fijian Drua on Friday night, are waiting on a decision from Rugby Australia (RA) on the survival of the club beyond this season.

Melbourne entered voluntary administration in January with debts of more than $20 million.

But they may have found a lifeline with a group led by former Qantas chairman Leigh Clifford in the “final stages of high-level talks” to move the rugby side to Melbourne’s western suburbs and join forces with the A-League’s Western United.

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Led by Clifford, a former CEO of Rio Tinto, the consortium is made up of members of Melbourne’s “business community that see the benefit of keeping professional women’s and men’s rugby in Victoria”.

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“The Melbourne Rebels consortium is well on the way to raising $20-$30 million from private equity to invest in the Rebels over a number of years,” the group said in a statement.

“The Federal Government and Wyndham City Council have been briefed on the plan over recent months.

“There are obvious synergies and cost efficiencies between the sporting codes which would see both Western United and the Melbourne Rebels share a community-based facility and growth strategy.

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“Wyndham is home to one of the largest Pasifika communities and already has a large rugby union fan base in the West of Melbourne.”

The sports clubs would share the Wyndham Regional Football Facility in Tarneit, which is 30km outside of the Melbourne CBD.

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Comments

1 Comment
J
Jon 100 days ago

It’s the least a Qantas rep could after the last bloke left the ARU in all sorts of problems over Folau.

Will be nice seeing a better sized venue if comes to pass.

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