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Melbourne Rebels Set for $30M Rescue Move to Wyndham

Melbourne Rebels in Wyndham

A group supported by private equity, spearheaded by the renowned Leigh Clifford, is orchestrating a financial intervention to rejuvenate the struggling Melbourne Rebels rugby club. The initiative involves a substantial infusion of $30 million and a strategic move to Wyndham.

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This ambitious plan involves the Melbourne Rebels—comprising both women’s and men’s teams—negotiating to share facilities with the A-League’s Western United Teams at the Wyndham Regional Football Facility located in Tarneit. The decision to enter voluntary administration was made by the Rebels earlier this year, as they grappled with escalating debts exceeding $23 million, including significant amounts owed to the Victorian government and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

The ATO has escalated the matter by issuing penalty notices to the club’s directors, making them personally responsible for the club’s tax liabilities. Stephen Longley from PwC, the appointed administrator, awaits a comprehensive rescue plan that hinges on the support from Rugby Australia and the ATO, among others. Following the club’s move into administration, Rugby Australia reclaimed its licence.

The consortium announced its progress towards securing the needed investment from private equity sources, with a commitment from Clifford, a figure with formidable experience in corporate leadership, to propel rugby to sustained success in the region. The federal government and local council are in the loop about these developments.

Georgia Widdup, representing the consortium and a director at Melbourne Rebels, highlighted that relocating to Tarneit would be a pivotal move for the club and rugby’s growth in Victoria. Emphasizing commitment to women’s rugby, community engagement, and youth programs, Widdup outlined a vision for expanding these initiatives within the western suburbs, aiming for a sustainable future for rugby in Victoria.

Jason Sourasis of Western Melbourne Group, sees the collaboration with the Melbourne Rebels as a natural fit, enhancing the group’s vision of fostering a sports-centric community. The proposed deal includes plans for hosting games at a new stadium with capacities to accommodate both rugby and football fans, aligning with major upcoming sports events.

This strategy represents a significant step towards ensuring the longevity and popularity of rugby in Victoria, through innovative approaches and substantial private investment, aiming to enrich the community and sports landscape of the western suburbs.

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