WA premier threatens to bankrupt ARU

The WA government is looking at suing the ARU for $100 million over the decision to axe the Force. (AAP)

The Australian Rugby Union has been given an ultimatum to reinstate the Western Force or risk going bankrupt in a legal battle with the WA government.

The WA government is threatening to bankrupt the Australian Rugby Union over the axing of the Western Force.

Premier Mark McGowan says his government is getting legal advice and the options include suing for restitution of more than $100 million, which would bankrupt the ARU, or suing for reinstatement.

"My ultimatum to the ARU is this - reinstate the Force or we'll use every tool at our disposal to get our money back and if that means the ARU goes bankrupt, so be it," he told reporters on Monday.

Mr McGowan said the ARU had acted with great disrespect to WA taxpayers and if they went bankrupt, that was their own fault.

The premier has written a letter to ARU chief Bill Pulver saying rugby union is considered an integral part of WA sport.

He said $17 million was spent on new training headquarters for the Force in Mount Claremont and $1.5 million for an annual Road Safety Commission sponsorship deal.

He said $95 million was also spent on nib Stadium, which the Perth Glory soccer team also uses.

Mr McGowan said the investments were made with an understanding the Force would continue in the Super Rugby competition and the ARU was in breach of its commitment.

Opposition spokesman John McGrath backed the premier's strong stance but said any legal action must be resolved soon to ensure players did not move on.

Mr McGrath also noted that when Labor was in opposition, they questioned the Road Safety Commission's sponsorship of the Force arranged by the Liberal-National government and referred the matter to an inquiry.

"We wonder whether at the time that was happening the Australian Rugby Union might have had some doubts about what sort of support they would be getting from the new government," he told reporters.

Thousands of fans rallied in Perth on Sunday, with billionaire backer Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest again slamming the ARU's decision to cull the Force as lacking financial merit and even hinting the club could play elsewhere if unsuccessful.

Rugby WA is expected to learn on Wednesday whether it will be granted the right to appeal the ARU's decision in the NSW Supreme Court.

The other two teams culled from Super Rugby for next season, South Africa's Cheetahs and Kings, have joined Europe's Pro 14 competition.

Source AAP

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