Western Force offers shares in beleaguered Super Rugby club

PERTH, Australia (AP) — The Western Force, one of the Super Rugby clubs mentioned as possibly being cut in an attempt to streamline the competition, is offering shares in the team in what officials are saying is an Australian first.

The club is offering the public 10,000 A Class Shares for an investment of 1,000 Australian dollars each (about $765) via a publicly listed company, Western Force Owners Limited.

"The support to date has shown the strength of the Western Australian rugby community," team official Tony Howarth said Thursday. "Players and the club are thrilled, but now it's crunch time, and we need more West Aussies to get behind the future of the club."

The governing body for Super Rugby, SANZAAR, met a week ago to discuss plans to reduce the current 18-team competition to 16 in 2018, with one club in South Africa and another in Australia mentioned as teams likely to be dropped.

The Australian clubs most often mentioned are the Force, based in Perth, the capital of Western Australia state, and the Melbourne Rebels.

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