MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Former Australia loose forward Scott Fardy has criticised Super Rugby’s governing body SANZAAR as an organisation of “faceless men in suits” far removed from the players on the pitch who are worried about their livelihoods.
The ACT Brumbies flanker will head overseas after the current season to play in Ireland but fired a parting shot early to the competition’s managers who have presided over a bungled expansion that will end with one Australian team and two South African sides culled for next year.
One of either the Melbourne Rebels or Western Force will be cut from the Australian conference but the final decision may be delayed further by legal action launched by the teams against the Australian Rugby Union.
Local media and pundits have slammed SANZAAR and the ARU for the protracted process that has kept players in the dark about their futures two months into the season.
But Fardy was unsurprised.
“It’s disappointing it’s taken this long but is anyone surprised? This is the game we’re in, it’s been like this for a long time,” the 39-test loose forward told local media on Tuesday.
”The officialdom in this game has always been like that.
“Obviously everyone looks at the ARU at the moment but you wouldn’t know who the head of SANZAAR is at any point -- I wouldn’t know what he looks like,” Fardy said of SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos.
”In other sports, especially in Australia, you have a head we can look at. In SANZAAR rugby we don’t know who is running it.
“It’s faceless men in suits in board rooms.”
In its statement announcing the competition’s contraction a week ago, SANZAAR defended its handling of the protracted process.
“This has been a long and complex piece of work and we make no apology for that,” Marinos said in the statement.
Along with Force and the Rebels, the twice champions Brumbies were the third team the ARU weighed cutting from the competition but the Canberra side’s future was confirmed last week.
Fardy sympathised with the Rebels and Force players who continue to compete with doubts over their futures. Contract talks for players at other clubs have also been held up.
”It’s guys’ livelihoods,“ Fardy said. ”It’s incredibly tough for players to have go through that.
”I‘m hoping that with all that stuff we get change so we’re not having these conversations in five or 10 years’ time.
“Hopefully we see changes for the benefit of rugby and this competition gets better from it.”
Reporting by Ian Ransom; editing by Sudipto Ganguly