Manly will continue to sport the logo of Coco Joy on their NRL jerseys, despite facing a $3 million sponsorship black hole after a significant court defeat in their battle with their major backer.
On Wednesday, the NSW Supreme Court turned down Manly’s demands for a sponsorship payment of more than $300,000, from Coco Joy’s parent company FAL Healthy Beverages that was due in February.
That payment was part of a three-year $3 million deal between Coco Joy and Manly starting this season.
Acting Justice Reginald Barrett found that Nick Xenos, who brokered the deal between the Sea Eagles and FAL and signed off on the deal for the sponsor, had no authority to do so.
This was because Xenos was an undischarged bankrupt and therefore automatically disqualified from managing corporations.
But Manly, who were ordered to pay FAL’s costs, say they will now take the matter further, according to CEO Joe Kelly.
“The statutory demand process was potentially a way of short circuiting an otherwise lengthy and arduous court process,” Kelly said.
“This was simply the first step in our attempt to get FAL to honour their contract.
“We were hopeful of avoiding a lengthy litigation process but we remain fully committed to enforcing our rights.
“The Sea Eagles remain supremely confident of a positive outcome in the pending full Supreme Court hearing which will now follow.”
The Supreme Court heard that in July last year, Manly had information that an investigation by the corporate watchdog ASIC concerning Xenos and the possibility of his contravening corporate law was “ongoing”.
The deal was signed between the two parties in October and the first payment of $302,500 was due in February, which FAL had declined to pay.
However Coco Joy will continue to sit on the front of the Sea Eagles’ jersey for their round 22 NRL match against Parramatta at Pirtek Stadium on Friday night.