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SBD Global/January 31, 2013/Franchises

A-League Mariners In Talks With Potential Asia Owners, Chair Denies "Fire Sale"

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Football Federation Australia insists that "it is delighted by the prospect of another A-League club" moving toward foreign ownership, after the Central Coast Mariners revealed that two Asian clubs "were in talks to inject substantial capital" into the Gosford-based club, according to Tom Smithies of the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. The two sides, "believed to be Chinese Super League clubs, are said to have done due diligence on the Mariners accounts and will visit the league leaders shortly to discuss a proposed multi-million-dollar investment in the club." Mariners Chair Peter Turnbull made the interest public Wednesday "in the hope it might spark other potential investors to come forward, though scepticism will be be high in some quarters in the light of a Russian consortium that for more than a year has allegedly been on the verge of sinking funds into the club" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 1/31).

SOUND REASONING: In Sydney, Ray Gatt noted if the deal goes through, the Mariners will join Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar "as being either partly or fully owned by overseas interests." Turnbull rejected suggestions that it was a "fire sale." He denied that it was a "desperate attempt to save the club from financial disaster." Turnbull said, "I won't dignify that by making a comment. This is an exciting situation for the club. It shows that we are doing something right. Will it help the club's bottom line? Of course." He added, "But I want to remind people that while we may have debt, we are brick-and-mortar rich. There aren't too many A-League clubs which can boast what we have" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 1/31).
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Franchises, Australia, China

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