Ioane's battle with Reds escalates
April 23, 2013
Digby Ioane may be forced to seek an overseas-based club if a resolution is not found © Getty Images
The Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) is preparing to battle star winger Digby Ioane after he was refused entry to a Brisbane hotel restaurant on Sunday.
As reported in The Australian, Ioane's manager Anthony Piccone is understood to have contacted the QRU a fortnight ago to confirm that the Wallabies star would not be taking up his option to remain with the Reds next year after a dispute over third-party payments.
But an angry Reds chief executive Jim Carmichael said he was investigating the incident at the Regatta Hotel - a sponsor of the QRU.
"He has a bigger problem than his contract and that's his conduct," Carmichael told The Australian.
It is understood Ioane was involved in an altercation with Regatta staff after being refused entry to a restaurant because he was not wearing a shirt and comes just a month after he was stood down from a Reds match after an incident at a Melbourne bar.
Even if Ioane faces disciplinary action, the Reds may be set for an even bigger fight to counter his bid to leave before his contract expires.
"At this stage we have an agreement that the only way he can play at any other (Australian) franchise than the Reds is if he declines an offer from the ARU - and I agree to it," Carmichael told The Australian. "He's going nowhere unless I release him."
In that instance Ioane's only alternative would be to play overseas.
Ioane hopes the ARU will decide he is free to negotiate with another Australian union if that keeps him playing for the Wallabies, but Carmichael was confident the ARU would back Queensland's contract with him.
Earlier on Monday, Reds coaching boss Ewen McKenzie and captain James Horwill both disputed a report in The Australian that Ioane had fallen out with the QRU and wanted to quit Ballymore.