Perth Glory’s 1-0 defeat at the hands of the Central Coast Mariners on New Year’s Eve may be a reflection of what the new year may bring for their fans. The team was unlucky to go down at Blue Tongue stadium, with out of form striker Shane Smeltz missing a golden opportunity to put them ahead and then the Mariners’ winner coming after the ball looked to strike Bernie Ibini’s arm prior to him finding the back of the net.
On the park the team look solid, although a lack of goals is a concern, but it is off the park that the club could well find its season and future is defined.
Last season despite reaching the Grand Final Perth Glory were lucky that the FFA were faced with the expulsion of Gold Coast United, Nathan Tinkler pulling Newcastle Jets out of the league and the setting up of their own side Western Sydney Wanderers at a time when Perth Glory were to be rapped across the knuckles for breaking the salary cap limit. As a result the breach became a minor issue and hardly newsworthy.
In recent weeks the resignation of CEO Paul Kelly, which is believed to have been by mutual consent, along with Police raids on Perth Glory owner and Chairman Tony Sage’s others business interests will undoubtedly have an effect in the months to come as to the future of the club in its current incarnation. It is important to state as the club announced that Perth Glory ‘which is within an office complex shared with other non-related companies, was not served with a warrant, nor was its office entered by the authorities.’
The resignation of Paul Kelly, for one looks to have terminated the relationship between the club and state league club Inglewood united. Which was being promoted as a feeder club to the A League side.
The raids on Mr Sage’s businesses however may have a far more long reaching effect. It is common knowledge that in March it was announced that Mr Sage’s flag ship company Cape Lambert owed $96 million in tax. However Mr Sage has a number of satellite companies including Kupang Resources, formerly Chameleon Mining of which former Rugby League star Benny Elias is Chairman and Mr Sage is major shareholder, and this could be the company that results in a change in Mr Sage’s fortunes and the Perth Glory’s ownership in 2013.
An American Paul Lindholm had agreed to bankroll Chameleon Mining’s high court battle with Murchison Metals, but when Cape Lambert took control of Chameleon, it triggered a $9 million termination fee for Lindholm. Without getting bogged down in the legal side of the mining and financial world as this is essentially a sporting website, however these issues could impact greatly on his football club, so bear with us. It is important to note that Mr Sage and Mr Elias then tried to challenge Mr Lindholm’s termination fee on the technical issue that his company didn’t have a financial services licence.
Murchison settled with Chameleon two days before Christmas 2011 with Mr. Sage and Mr. Elias coming away with $25 million. The two headed to West Timor where they snapped up a manganese project for $10 million; or a share in one that is controlled by Indonesians. The directors received approximately $5million arising from the win over Murchison metals, and their lawyers are believed to have collected $2million.
At the start of October the pair lost their high court battle with Mr. Lindholm and were ordered to pay the $8.4 million owed plus costs. As Kupang Resources did not have the funds they were suspended on the Australian Stock Exchange. With Cape Lambert being awarded 40 million shares in April 2012 and Mr Sage, and with his former CEO Mr Kelly being directors of Kupang Resources, along with Mr Elias, one can see how the effects of one business could well impact on Perth Glory.
During Mr Sage’s tenure as owner of Perth Glory there have been times when players and staff have not been paid on time, some being paid a month in arrears, and there is the possibility that the financial situation of each of Mr Sage’s companies are linked and could in turn impact on each other; rather than being stand alone businesses each surviving off their own revenue streams. If that is indeed the case Perth Glory may well see some dramatic changes in 2013.
One thing that could have a massive impact on the club’s future will be the performances on the pitch and whether these can, with the right marketing, drive fans through the turnstiles back to the levels of old and up around the twelve thousand mark. A place in the Asian Champion’s League would also not go amiss, but is looking less likely for 2013. The trouble is there comes a time at any sporting organisation when off field issues begin to impact on the playing staff, and one has to wonder if the recent run of only two wins in their last nine games is a result issues off the park impacting on the club as a whole.
Once again promotion of the next home game is being built around an opposition player, Alessandro del Piero, rather than on the Perth Glory team, their league position and the players. One wonders how many extra fans will come through the turnstiles on January the fifth. Then the question is how many will come back for the game against Melbourne Victory. The club needs the fans to come out in force, and regularly, to have a chance of continuing into 2014 in its current structure and with the current personnel. Yet one cannot deny that the ownership issue may well be determined when the Australian Tax Office, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Federal Police announce their findings as a result of the raids that took place in December, which is expected to be possibly in early February.
These could very easily determine the future of Perth’s A League club and definitely its ownership.
In October Kupang Resources