Balmain seek extension..Wests Tigers


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    Balmain seek extension of deadline in desperate bid to save share of Wests Tigers

    Date February 2, 2016 - 6:29PM

    Chris Barrett
    Sports Writer

    A desperate Balmain Tigers are seeking a year-long extension to repay $5 million in debt to the NRL in a last-ditch bid to save the foundation club.

    Tigers chairman Leslie Glen met with the NRL’s head of club services, Tony Crawford, on Tuesday to raise the proposal as the days count down to their repayment deadline of March 31.

    If the financially stricken club cannot meet that obligation they will be forced to sell their 50 per cent shareholding in Wests Tigers in the following six months, ending an association of 108 years with top-level rugby league.

    As it stands they are no chance of repaying the debt, which ballooned as League Central covered the bills of their side of the joint venture over the past two years, but an ambitious Glen claims that with an extension of 12 months they could be in healthier shape.

    He believes that with extra money expected to be distributed to clubs as a result of the recently signed $1.9 billion television rights deal - all clubs are set to receive bonuses of $1.5m this year and next year, and annual grants will rise significantly above the salary cap from 2018 - Balmain can survive, but only if they are permitted to tread water for another year.

    “I think (the NRL) are sympathetic and we’re hoping that our joint partners, Wests Ashfield, will be similarly sympathetic given our situation,” Glen said.

    “We know (the NRL) have expressed the view that they do not want to lose a foundation club. We believe that 2017 will set a different financial landscape for every NRL club and basically if we were able to hold on until then I think our longevity is assured.”

    Despite Glen’s optimism, however, the ploy to buy more time is next to no chance of being approved.

    The last of the NRL’s payments towards Wests Tigers was made on January 31 and if Balmain were to be cleared for another year to wipe their debt it would mean Wests Ashfield having to carry the freight for the NRL team entirely without the help of head office.

    An NRL spokesman said on Tuesday: “We are meeting with all the parties before we come to a final position.”

    The Wests side was unaware of the push for an extension to the March 31 deadline but are highly unlikely to be willing to cede a competitive advantage to rival teams by allowing a share of bonuses and grants to be channelled towards Balmain repaying their debt rather than going towards the NRL team’s operating costs. Wests Tigers themselves also owe $1.5m to the NRL.

    Balmain’s bleak financial position - they were $11m in the red according to their most recent annual report last August - casts major doubt on whether they would be able to repay their debt to the NRL even if they were given an extra year. While the NRL grant will rise to 130 per cent of the salary cap in 2018 - meaning if the clubs’ total spending limit on players is lifted to $10m as has been mooted, the grant will be $13m - there is no such significant increase next year. And the two $1.5m bonuses heading the clubs’ way in 2017 and 2018 will not be straight cash handouts. Half of the money will be loans so teams can reduce their losses.

    Even so, Balmain are clinging to hope of another lifeline as they also await a decision from the NSW Land and Environment Court in April on the future of the destitute Balmain Leagues Club in Rozelle.

    The developers, Rozelle Village, in December waived their rights to terminate the club’s lease at the vacant site after freezing interest repayments on the Tigers’ $11m loan last April.

    A green light from the court over a disputed development application would secure Balmain’s future financial well-being, Glen said.

    “Every club runs through a bad patch financially and we believe the financial difficulties are now starting to look like they’re resolvable,” Glen said. "Our two start-up clubs at Five Dock and Sydney Markets (Flemington) are starting to give us a very good return. With Rozelle coming online that would put us in a much healthier position.

    “If we got the extension this time next year we would have a very good shot at being able to manage a repayment set-up both with our developer at Rozelle and the NRL.”

    If Balmain are forced to sell, Wests Ashfield will have first option to buy their 50 per cent share.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/balmain-seek-extension-of-deadline-in-desperate-bid-to-save-share-of-wests-tigers-20160202-gmjuwh.html#ixzz3z0QNhamA
    Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook



  • Bye Bye Balmain……face up to the facts…



  • very sad, some of the best days of my life were at balmain juniors



  • Looking bleak for my old team. At some stage you just have to put the white flag up.



  • Very sad indeed. But we gotta look forward not back.



  • Tigers never give up , sad as it seems to be , I say ride this out , milk the NRL of every thing they can give , they seem to give in to the roosters easy and let them run there own race ( Pearce ) well let them give us as much time as we need , I know a lot on here will say just end it and get rid of the part that can’t pay , but we need to be strong and get all parties strong and healthy behind the WESTS TIGERS , 2 teams came together lets do what ever we can to keep that bond , it may pay In the long run , WESTS TIGERS are Balamain and western suburbs let’s keep it grab it with both hands and make it become a team that we all love and a team all players would love to play for , it’s not that hard , we have just been run by numb nuts over a long period , now is a chance to move on get stronger and head to the top
    WESTS TIGERS , best team in the comp ,
    THATS RIGHT , learn to,love it



  • I remember reading about Balmain’s plight all the way back in 2004. What’s going to happen in the next 12 months that hasn’t happened in the last 12 yrs? I know its sad, but delaying the inevitable is the understatement of the century here.



  • I was Balmain through and through before the merger.

    It makes me angry that it has got to this. Beens year and years of stuff you just shake your head about.

    Begging for another year, whilst stumbling and bumbling deaths door with no light at the end of the tunnell. Its embarrassing for the old fans and would be heart breaking for past players, staff and so on.

    Hate to say it but maybe its time to put them out of their misery and move on.

    Not trying to be disrespectful, don’t get me wrong I would love nothing more then them to get back on their feet. However are they just trying to drag on the pain for another year??

    Is there a clear plan to get out of this hole, or is it just keep begging for more time?



  • It seems too big a risk banking on a development to be approved, and the potential that a start-up club will be successful in the short term? Its not like they will be able to keep the existing 2 clubs once they finally move into a new club.

    I think the NRL need to move forward and assess there viability based on the existing clubs for now.



  • @supercoach:

    Looking bleak for my old team. At some stage you just have to put the white flag up.

    Yep, and unfortunately that time is now.



  • @Tiger Watto:

    It seems too big a risk banking on a development to be approved, and the potential that a start-up club will be successful in the short term? Its not like they will be able to keep the existing 2 clubs once they finally move into a new club.

    I think the NRL need to move forward and assess there viability based on the existing clubs for now.

    Actually I think the idea is very much that they would keep the 2 other clubs as well as the new club.

    Generally i think Balmain Leagues have been stupid but my understanding is
    a) it’s alot closer to being approved then ever has been before
    b) In 12 months they probably would be in a much better situation as once it is approved they would be able to refinance the debts as they have a way to pay for them moving forward

    However my preference has always been that the shares are offered for sale to members and fans on a similar basis to the Green Bay Packers in the NFL



  • This is a massive decision; as if the extension is not granted & Wests severe ties with Balmain I would imagine there would be a race between the Roosters & the Eels to align with Balmain & capture the junior nursery.



  • You would think someone with influence would be in Harry’s ear.
    Only last week they put his wealth at just on 7 billion.



  • @Boonboon2:

    @Tiger Watto:

    It seems too big a risk banking on a development to be approved, and the potential that a start-up club will be successful in the short term? Its not like they will be able to keep the existing 2 clubs once they finally move into a new club.

    I think the NRL need to move forward and assess there viability based on the existing clubs for now.

    Actually I think the idea is very much that they would keep the 2 other clubs as well as the new club.

    Generally i think Balmain Leagues have been stupid but my understanding is
    a) it’s alot closer to being approved then ever has been before
    b) In 12 months they probably would be in a much better situation as once it is approved they would be able to refinance the debts as they have a way to pay for them moving forward

    However my preference has always been that the shares are offered for sale to members and fans on a similar basis to the Green Bay Packers in the NFL

    The existing pokie licenses will be transfered into the new club, leaving those clubs as sitting ducks without gaming.

    A share sale agreement to fans would be interesting, but I’m not sure that is the NRL’s preferred option?



  • @cktiger:

    You would think someone with influence would be in Harry’s ear.
    Only last week they put his wealth at just on 7 billion.

    The reason he is one of Australia’s richest is because he does not gamble on losing bets, which is why he would not bail them out. There is nothing in it for him. His sponsorship gets him a good seat at the games and good publicity from the jumpers on tv. Why throw your money away on a mob that have created this mess? I wouldn’t, even if I had Bill Gates’ bankroll.


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