The Brumbies may need a financial bail-out from the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) after losing their major sponsor less than two months before the start of the Super Rugby season.
The Canberra outfit's horror season in 2011, the worst in their history, saw them lose their 15-year sponsorship from Computer Associates and although they were confident that they had found an able replacement in telecommunications and technology giant Huawei that deal seems to have fallen through at the last minute.
The two-times Super Rugby champions were hoping to turn things around in 2012 under new coach Jake White, but those aspirations received a blow with the news that their four-year deal with Huawei that was reported to be worth AUS milllion would not materialise.
Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan explained that the franchise had thought it was a done deal until the sponsors pulled out right at the last minute, which has left them scrambling for financial support.
"It got to the stage of approving jersey designs," Fagan told the Canberra Times. "We were awaiting the global board's rubber stamping of the agreement, which I understand was received last week.
"There were some unrelated issues that arose that Huawei needed to address, that essentially meant instead of signing contracts, we received notification that they weren't able to confirm the sponsorship."
This means that the prospect of the Brumbies going to the ARU with hat in hand is very real, although they would obviously prefer to find a sponsor before the Super Rugby season starts.
Fagan explained: "If we need assistance, the ARU has assured us that they will provide it. But our first step is to see if anything can be resolved with Huawei.
"Subject to it being delayed or deferred, we need to look for another partner. If that takes longer than we would like, then the ARU sits there as one organisation that could provide cash-flow support. It's not a long-term issue for us, it's a short-term cash flow issue," he added.
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