The NRL have all but halted any further offers from other companies to stay in control of the Newcastle Knights.
The Knights have been struggling since the demise of their former owner in Nathan Tinkler who put himself and the club under immense financial pressure back in 2014. On the field, they have finished last in the last two years. This particular season, they could only win one game out of the 24 matches and had one draw.
Over the course of the three months, it was reported six parties were highly interested in purchasing the club but nobody put pen to paper.
The sale process is now over, In a statement today released by the Knights, CEO Matt Gidley said:
“Firstly, we wish to thank the NRL and the members of the Divestment Committee for their management of the sale process.”
“The decision not to proceed with any of the available ownership options at this time underlines the NRL’s commitment to ensuring our Club and community benefits from the right new, long-term ownership structure.”
NRL CFO and Head of Club and State Services Tony Crawford said the Knights are a team that the NRL needs because of its solid fan base and community aspect.
“We have always said any new ownership of the Knights must be good for the Club, good for the community and good for the game.
“Based on that criteria, and despite receiving offers from a number of interested parties, the NRL has decided to retain ownership of the Knights until such time as the divestment criteria is satisfactorily met.”
Knights chairman Brian McGuigan said he was pleased with the cautious approach.
“The Newcastle Knights board were keen on ensuring that we had local involvement,” he said.
“Given the fact that the Knights have gone through a decade of financial issues … we have to make sure the step we take now is good for the club for the long term.”
In 2017, the Knights celebrate their 30th season in the NRL. – Jesse Mullens
Photo of a Newcastle Knights ball from the Newcastle Knights’ Twitter feed.