The Australia Rugby Union (ARU) moved to allay fears Western Force will be axed from Super Rugby, insisting no decision has been made on the future of the Perth-based franchise.
The ARU responded to reports following widespread speculation on Monday that Force were set to fold amid rumours Super Rugby will be reduced from 18 to 15 teams by governing body SANZAAR for 2018-19.
Western Force - founded in 2005 - swiftly denied those reports on Monday and the ARU followed suit on Tuesday, saying no decision had been made on the future of the Super Rugby format or how many Australian teams would be involved.
"The ARU wishes to clarify its current position in the SANZAAR review of the Super Rugby competition," ARU chief executive Bull Pulver said in a statement.
"As announced by SANZAAR following the SANZAAR Board meeting in London earlier this month, the four member nations have undertaken a period of stakeholder consultation to work towards an agreed outcome on the competition format for the 2018 season. This stakeholder consultation, which has included consultation with broadcast partners in each territory, is ongoing. At this point, there has been no determination on the future competition format or the teams involved in the competition.
"We also wish to confirm for the public record that no decision has been taken on the removal of one of Australia’s Super Rugby teams.
"ARU, as a joint venture partner of SANZAAR, is working towards a final resolution in the shortest timeframe possible and will inform Rugby fans as soon as an outcome is reached."