Stay of execution for Otago rugby union

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The potential demise of the Otago Rugby Football Union has been delayed a week.
 
The union has delayed by one week the filing of an application to liquidate pending the outcome of negotiations around a possible recovery package. 

In a statement, New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew said the ORFU board agreed to defer the application – due to have been filed this afternoon – to allow more time for details of the recovery package to be worked on. 

“The key parties have been talking since Monday and have identified some options that warrant further examination. It makes sense for the union to delay proceedings to allow these parties more time to undertake proper analysis,” Tew says. 

“Obviously things are at a very delicate stage, so we are not in a position to discuss the shape of any deal. 

However, we are only considering arrangements that will put the union on a sustainable long term footing. This is complicated and any deal has to be multi-faceted involving input from all of the union’s key partners. 

“This doesn’t change the fact that the financial picture remains very bleak, there are some significant hurdles to be overcome, so the outcome is by no means certain, but all parties are working hard on these proposals,” he says. 

NZRU general manager community and provincial union rugby Brent Anderson spent Wednesday and Thursday on the ground in the Otago regions finalising arrangements and support measures for the community game. 

“Regardless of what happens, we have to take steps now to ensure the various competitions, coaching programmes and other services that are part and parcel of every season carry on as normal,” Tew says. 

“Rest assured, kids will still be turning out for their clubs, and club rugby will kick off as planned in a few weeks. We will have people in place to ensure there will be as little disruption as possible. 

“What’s been fantastic to see has been the enthusiasm for the game that’s obviously there despite the union’s challenges.” 

Queenstown-based ORFU president Sir Eion Edgar told Mountain Scene earlier this week that it was unlikely the millions in debt owed by the union would be paid off by generous Kiwis.

“It may be best for the union to wipe its arrears through liquidation and start again,” Edgar said.