Rugby: Brumbies chairman apologises to fans for ugly civil war

Former Brumbies CEO Michael Jones. Photo / Getty
Former Brumbies CEO Michael Jones. Photo / Getty

Brumbies chairman Robert Kennedy has apologised to his club's fans for the ugly saga that ended with chief executive Michael Jones being paid to pack up and leave his office at the weekend.

But despite Kennedy saying a "sense of relief" had washed over the Brumbies after a month of messy civil war, the prospect of more damaging headlines in the future remains with confirmation the AFP investigation into questionable financial transactions by the club will continue.

Jones agreed to a reported $500,000 settlement with the Brumbies to depart on Saturday, after several weeks of bitterly fighting his sacking. The former CEO took the Brumbies to court and won an injunction against his dismissal by the Brumbies board in late March, claiming he was protected by whistleblower provisions.

Jones argued he'd been targeted after identifying serious issues last year with the $11.35 million sale of the Brumbies at Griffith and a subsequent move the club's headquarters to the University of Canberra.

After a report from forensic accountants KPMG, the Brumbies and the ARU then referred the matter to the AFP.

"We continue to support that decision and we continue to co-operate fully with those inquiries of the AFP," Kennedy said.

In an explosive ABC interview, Jones said certain parties were worried about what may be found in the police investigation and had sought to get rid of him.

Kennedy said legal restrictions attached to Jones' settlement meant he could not explain why the Brumbies had sought to sack the CEO, but he acknowledged how damaging the whole saga had been.

"I would like to apologise to our members and fans," Kennedy said.

"This is not what they want like to see or hear in the pages of the newspapers or on the news. We are confident we have put this behind us, and we are looking forward to the Bulls game on the weekend and getting back to focusing on what we should be and that's the fantastic rugby program.

"There are no winners in these sorts of issues. It is very bruising and it has been a very challenging time for everybody.

"Suffice to say that we had come to a view that in the long-term interests of the Brumbies it was better to part ways, and our agreement with Michael, we had both come to that agreement in the end."

Kennedy said no Brumbies board members would be resigning and ARU boss Bill Pulver, who was in Canberra for briefings on the Jones' matter, said the board had the ARU's full support.

Kennedy said Jones' financial settlement would not cause the club any solvency issues, saying: "I can confirm that we are financially viable."

Kennedy confirmed Jones' workplace behaviour claims last week against captain Stephen Moore and flanker Scott Fardy had gone nowhere.

"The Brumbies organisation takes any workplace harassment claims very seriously and deals with them and I am fully confident they have been appropriately dealt with and finished," he said.

Pulver said he had no concerns the Brumbies would come cap in hand for financial help after paying out Jones.

"They're in good shape. There is no urgent need for us to fill any gaps at the moment," Pulver said.

- news.com.au

- NZ Herald

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