SYDNEY, Australia - Western Force suffered a significant blow to their hopes for reinstatement into Super Rugby by losing a court appeal against their axing on Tuesday.
The NSW Supreme Court in Sydney dismissed an appeal made by Force's parent body Rugby WA against the Australian Rugby Union's decision to cut the Perth-based franchise from next year's Super Rugby competition.
"This now means the ARU have the ability to remove the Western Force from the Super Rugby competition," Rugby WA said in a statement.
"Rugby WA will evaluate its legal options and consider grounds to seek leave to appeal to the NSW Court of Appeal in the coming days."
It had appealed an original court decision that a new SANZAAR broadcast deal for 15 teams was legally binding, therefore nullifying a agreement between the ARU and the Force guaranteeing them survival until the end of 2020.
SANZAAR, the governing body of Super Rugby, decided to reduce the competition after the unwieldy four-conference 18-team model lost favour with fans and led to a slump in television viewers.
The ARU then announced that it would assess the business cases of the Force and the Melbourne Rebels, before deciding in August the Perth team was the franchise they intended to axe.