Brumbies chief executive Michael Jones has been stood down by the Super Rugby club’s board following a radio interview in which he was critical of the club’s finances.
Jones’ standing down followed a surprise visit to Canberra by Australian rugby boss Bill Pulver on Monday, with Brumbies chairman Rob Kennedy informing the CEO of his decision hours later.
“It was with great regret that I informed Michael of the board’s decision,” Kennedy said in a statement on Monday night. “However, I believe this decision is in the best long term interest of the Brumbies.”
The club’s general manager of community rugby, Craig Leseberg, will take over as interim CEO, while it is still unclear whether Jones will fight or accept the decision.
Jones earned the ire of club and Australian rugby officials on Saturday, when he told ABC Grandstand he was concerned about the future of the club.
The Brumbies are currently under investigation by ACT Police, after Jones called on them to investigate a deal signed by previous club management with the University of Canberra.
“If the Brumbies cease to be an entity, which is one of the very foreseeable outcomes ... the ARU will be in default of the SANZAAR agreement, because they are required to field five teams every week,” Jones said on Saturday.
“And if this organisation folds and goes into administration the ARU is in default. They are big stakes games that a lot of these guys are playing, and its fairly irresponsible of most of them to do it.”
The Brumbies took a reported $1.68 million loss in 2015, and Jones also told the ABC they have made a profit just once in the past 11 years.
However, an ARU spokesman told News Corp Australia that the organisation would step in to save the club if required.