Wests save Balmain in new NRL ownership

Wests save Balmain in new NRL ownership

Balmain have not only been saved from extinction, but retain come control at the Wests Tigers, with the joint venture club on Friday announcing a new ownership model.

More than 18 months after Balmain’s funding moved into default and the club were handed a loan from the NRL, Wests have agreed to 75 per cent ownership, with Balmain retaining their 25 per cent share.

“The deal which determines Wests Tigers ownership and future contributions ensures Wests Tigers’ long-term viability,” the club said in a statement.

Balmain have also kept their two seats on a new nine-man board, however the Wests Group now have five nominees, while two independent directors remain.

The deal means the NRL has finally stopped propping up the battling club.

Balmain had previously been given a March 31 deadline to repay a $5.4 million loan from the governing body after falling into a crippling debt that stemmed from the closure of Balmain Leagues Club at Rozelle.

But, two years after the NRL had stepped in to keep the marriage afloat, Wests are understood to have helped ensure the Balmain side of the club survives by paying half the money owed.

“Balmain acknowledges Wests Ashfield Leagues’ role in securing the operational and financial viability of Wests Tigers over the past four years and for its generous offer to Balmain to secure its place as part of Wests Tigers in the NRL into the future,” the statement continued.

Independent board member Lucio Di Bartolomeo has stood down, while Marina Go remains the chair.

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