The Force have launched legal action to stop the Australian Rugby Union from kicking them out of Super Rugby.
The Perth-based franchise is expected to be axed from the competition after Sanzaar's decision to reduce the number of teams in the tournament from 18 to 15.
One Australian franchise has to be dropped under the restructuring plan. With the Waratahs and Reds assured of their places in the competition, and the Brumbies having been told on Monday that they too are safe, the Force or Rebels remain in the firing line.
The ARU reportedly doesn't want to get into a legal battle with the Rebels' private owners, so the Force seem most likely to be axed. However, the Perth-based franchise has now taken legal action in a bid to save itself.
'The RugbyWA Board had an unsatisfactory meeting with ARU management representatives [on Monday] that highlighted that the terms of the assessment and process being used to evaluate ourselves and the Rebels were inconsistent and inequitable,' said a Force statement.
'Discussions also failed to address the responsibilities that exist in the Alliance Agreement between RugbyWA and the ARU, and we felt in order to protect our position it was necessary to issue legal proceedings to protect our rights under the Alliance Agreement.
'Initially we had particular concerns about the 72-hour deadline to respond, however, we have now been advised that we will have further time to present our business case.
'Today further highlighted the importance of the Own the Force campaign to strengthen our negotiating position with the Australian Rugby Union to ultimately secure the Western Force in Perth.
'We urge all supporters who pledged their commitment to now consider becoming a shareholder of the Western Force Owners Ltd.
'In the meantime, we will work with our partners, staff and government to develop the best possible business case to take to the ARU.'
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