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Chinese owners purchase A-League club Newcastle Jets
Football Federation Australia (FFA) has announced the completion of a 100% sale of troubled A-League club the Newcastle Jets to the Ledman Group, a leading high-tech LED signage manufacturer, operator and integrated sports business headquartered in Shenzhen, China.
The sale, understood to be worth more than $5 million, marks the first major Chinese investment in the A-League.
The Jets had been under the ownership of FFA since May 2015 having gone through a challenging period after former owner Nathan Tinkler was stripped of his A-League licence after he placed the club into administration.
Ledman already has an extensive football investment portfolio as owner of Chinese lower-tier club Shenzhen Renren FC, sponsor of the Chinese Super League and naming-rights sponsor for Portugal’s second division.
Martin Lee, Ledman’s Chairman and major shareholder rates the A-League as one of Asia’s top professional football competitions and is excited by the potential of the club.
He explained “we see a bright future for football across Asia and the Hyundai A-League is at the forefront as one of the top professional leagues in the region.
“The investment aligns with Ledman’s activities in several sectors of the sports industry and I’m excited by the potential of the club. In the coming months we will announce ways in which the community, and especially club members, can have a regular say in the running of the Jets.
“We will also announce a board which will include a minimum of two local directors. All existing agreements with Jets staff, sponsors, suppliers, and the community at large will be honoured in full following the formal handover from FFA to Ledman.”
Ledman, reported to be worth more than $1 billion, attracted attracted controversy earlier this year after their sponsorship of Portugal’s second division saw the company insist that the top 10 clubs in the division would each be obliged to field 10 Chinese players.
Former Central Coast Mariners Coach and General Manager, Lawrie McKinna, has been confirmed as the Jets’ new Chief Executive.
McKinna will replace current Newcastle Jets interim Chief Executive David Eland, when the ownership formally changes hands later this month.
McKinna sated “with Ledman’s backing combined with the continued support of our local and national stakeholders, I feel that we can build something big here in the Hunter.”
In addition to his roles at the Mariners, McKinna has also served as Mayor of Gosford from 2012 until May this year.
In the wake of the Jets’ sale, the NRL has set up a ‘Divestment Committee’ to determine the best process for the sale of the Newcastle Knights, also formerly owned by Tinkler as part of his Hunter Sports Group.
18th December 2015 - CHINA ADVANCES MASSIVE INVESTMENT IN YOUTH FOOTBALL DEVELOPMENT
2nd July 2015 - MARINERS COMMIT TO CENTRAL COAST STADIUM
21st May 2015 - FFA CANCELS NATHAN TINKLER’S NEWCASTLE JETS’ A-LEAGUE LICENCE
7th February 2015 - NATHAN TINKLER PAYS NEWCASTLE JETS’ DEBTS, NAMES NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE
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