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SBD Global/December 14, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

ARLC Confident Newcastle Knights' Future Not In Jeopardy

The National Rugby League said that the future of the Newcastle Knights is "not in jeopardy despite the Australian Tax Office applying for a liquidator to be appointed to the club," according to Brent Read of THE AUSTRALIAN. Documents filed in Sydney's Federal Court show that the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation was "applying for the wind-up" of Hunter Sports Group, Newcastle Jets Football Operations Pty Ltd. and Newcastle Knights Pty Ltd. The Knights owe more than A$1.4M ($1.47M) to the tax office, the Jets owe more than A$1M, while Hunter Sports Group owes A$184,000. As part of his takeover of the Knights, Nathan Tinkler was "obliged to make a bank guarantee" of A$20M, which is "expected to secure the club's future regardless of any financial problems which may strike the mining magnate" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 12/13).

BACK-UP PLAN: In Sydney, Leeson & Dillon reported the Knights members board has "the option to take control of the club and activate a A$20M guarantee if Tinkler's Hunter Sports Group cannot meet its contractual obligations for running the club." However, there is "no bank guarantee in place" for the Jets. Knights Old Boys President John Laut said, "It's certainly a good fall-back position for the members committee and the football club in general, which is something I'm sure the Jets would like to have. I certainly hope all this can be overcome. We're dealing with people's lives, aren't we, as far as the Jets are concerned." Football Federation Australia CEO David Gallop, who has repeatedly stated he had "no concerns" about Tinkler's apparently precarious position, declined to comment. However, sources said that the Jets were "an integral part of the A-League's future, primarily because of FFA's new A$160M, four-year TV deal" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 12/14).

NO DISTRACTIONS: In Sydney, Dean Ritchie wrote "the constant headlines have been damaging," but Newcastle Knights CEO Matt Gidley insisted that his team "had not been distracted" from its preseason training. Gidley: "It's important the players aren't distracted and, up until now, I know they haven't been distracted. I talk to the players regularly, and their feedback is that they're excited about the season" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 12/14).
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