Investors step in to save Otago

A rescue package has prevented the debt-stricken Otago Rugby Football Union from going into liquidation.

New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew said key debtors, including Bank of New Zealand, the Dunedin City Council and NZRU had intervened to save the 131-year-old union, which had amounted debts of NZ$2.35 million.

‘There is now some confidence in a long-term sustainable plan…. I’m not sure a win-win was possible in these circumstances but we’ve still got the Otago union in operation,’ Tew told Radio New Zealand.

The NZRU and Dunedin City council have also written off a combined total of nearly NZ$1 million in loans to the ORFU. Under the terms of that agreement the NZRU have insisted on the immediate resignations of the ORFU board and tight financial restrictions over the union, including a NZ$290 000 reduction in payments to Otago players in the domestic ITM Cup for 2012.

Dunedin’s new indoor stadium will also host All Blacks Test matches for the next two years as part of the rescue package.