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Wests Group to purchase struggling Newcastle Knights from the NRL

Wests Group to purchase struggling Newcastle Knights from the NRL
July 22, 2017

The NRL has reached an agreement with the Hunter Valley based Wests Group for it to take ownership and operation of the Newcastle Knights.

As part of the deal, the thriving Wests club group - which made a $23 million profit last year - will commit up to $10 million to new rugby league Centre of Excellence as well as a cash injection of $2.5 million into grassroots in the region over the next five years.

Announcing the agreement today, NRL Chief Executive Todd Greenberg said the agreement was a great outcome for the Newcastle Knights, the Newcastle community and the game.

Greenberg stated “we always said future ownership needed to be good for the club, the community and the game and we’ve secured that outcome through this agreement with Wests.

“When the NRL took over the Knights in 2014 we needed to secure the financial future of the club and then deliver the best possible ownership to run the club into the future.

“Those goals have been achieved and there is now every opportunity for the Knights to become a powerhouse of the game in the years ahead.

“Wests are ideal owners of the Knights given their strong rugby league heritage and their strength in the local community."

Greenberg praised the Wests Board, headed by Owen Kilpatrick and Chief Executive Philip Gardner for their commitment to the future of the Knights and rugby league in the region, adding “the Knights are in good hands.”

Newcastle Knights Chairman Brian McGuigan said the Board and management had done a great job, meeting its commitment to the NRL to stabilise the club and prepare the Knights for transition to new ownership.

McGuigan stated “our task was to implement stronger financial, operational and governance structures at the club which we have done.

“While our performances on the field have not met our ambitions, we are handing over a club in better shape than we inherited, positioned to compete strongly in the coming seasons.”

The deal is subject to an endorsement by Knights members who will be able to vote between Monday 31st July and Sunday 6th August on whether they support or oppose the planned takeover.

With their support, the transition of ownership will begin next month with completion and full ownership on 31st October.

Knights Chief Executive Matt Gidley said he was confident of a smooth transition to Wests ownership, concluding “our focus is to ensure there is minimal disruption to the players, the club and the fans over the coming months.

“Our fans have been unbelievably loyal and supportive during a tough period but I think this agreement will signal the start of a new era for the Knights.”

The Knights are currently facing their third wooden spoon in the NRL season.

Images: The Knights in action during the 2017 NRL season (top, courtesy of the Newcastle Knights/Facebook) and the McDonald Jones (Hunter) Stadium (below). 

11th July 2017 - NSW GOVERNMENT REVEALS PLANS TO REVITALISE NEWCASTLE SPORT AND ENTERTAINMENT PRECINCT

21st June 2017 - RECORD NSW FUNDING COMMITMENT TO SPORT AND RECREATION

8th May 2017 - NEW VENUES NSW BOARD ANNOUNCED TO OVERSEE MAJOR VENUES 

12th December 2016 - NEWCASTLE BUSINESSMEN PLAN TAKEOVER OF NRL’S KNIGHTS

11th November 2016 - SYDNEY-BASED NRL CLUBS LOST $34.1 MILLION IN 2016 SEASON

9th October 2016 - HUNTER STADIUM SECURES NAMING RIGHTS DEAL

30th June 2016 - NSW GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES NEW BOARD FOR ANZ STADIUM

14th April 2016 - SUBURBAN SYDNEY STADIA TO BENEFIT UNDER $40 MILLION NRL CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE PLAN

23rd August 2014 - NATHAN TINKLER TO QUIT AUSTRALIAN SPORT AS INTENTION TO SELL NEWCASTLE JETS CONFIRMED

20th June 2014 - NRL TAKES ON NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS OWNERSHIP 

25th May 2014 - NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS LOOK TO WESTS GROUP FOR BACKING 


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