A-League outfit Perth Glory is in disarray after it was on Saturday placed into voluntary receivership.
The club is desperately searching for a new owner after long-time owner Tony Sage relinquished the club’s licence after a turbulent period for the club.
The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) – which runs the A-League – announced on Saturday that it had appointed advisory firm KordaMentha to “manage” the receivership process for the Glory, and that Sage would “cease in his ownership of the club immediately”.
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APL has guaranteed Glory’s survival despite the enormous challenged it is facing.
The governing body claims the license is expected to be handed over within the next 10 weeks.
The 2023-24 A-League season begins October 13 — giving the club less than three months to get its house in order
The Age reports several parties have shown interest in considering an application to take over the license.
WA Today reported Saturday the club was forced to use loans from the APL in order to pay the wages of players and staff over the past five months — totalling around $5 million in debt.
The writing has been on the wall for some time with Sage’s intent to step aside widely known and the club was further rocked last month when head coach Ruben Zadkovich left after just one season.
Financial agency KordaMentha has been given the job of finding the club’s next owner while ensuring the club’s “obligations” are met.
APL chief executive officer Danny Townsend said the Glory had “faced incredibly difficult circumstances over the last five years”.
“We are pleased to close off this period of uncertainty for players, staff, members and fans as they continue their preparations for next season,” Townsend said.
“Here we have a process which allows for the club’s operations to continue … while the technical adjustments are made to the club’s ownership structure.
“Under this league structure, the continuity of our clubs is now guaranteed by the league.”
Sage, who has owned the Glory for 17 years, said in a club statement: “It is with profound sadness that I can confirm my decision to step down as owner of this wonderful football club which is so close to my heart and will always remain so.
“I have often referred to Perth Glory as my fourth child and that provides an insight into just how profoundly difficult it is for me to step away.
“My family has invested millions into the club to put competitive men’s, women’s and youth teams on the pitch to represent this great club and our state and provide a genuine football pathway for all aspiring WA footballers.
“However, I have always maintained that everything I do is in the best interests of the club and that commitment underpins this decision.”
Glory chief executive officer Anthony Radich thanked Sage for his “enormous contribution” to the club.
“As we now transition into a new era, I would like to reassure our members, fans, corporate sponsors and all other stakeholders that this news is very much a positive development,” Radich said.
Tony Sage’s final letter to Glory fans
To the Glory Family,
As owner of the club for the past 17 years, I can say in all honesty that it has taken a huge emotional, financial and time commitment on my family’s part to sustain it and ensure that Perth and Western Australia continues to be represented at the elite level of Australian football.
In total, my family has invested millions into the club to put competitive Men’s, Women’s and Youth teams on the pitch to represent this great club and our state and provide a genuine football pathway for all aspiring WA footballers.
This investment was increased greatly and unsustainably by the impact of COVID-19 which decimated the club’s income streams and then further compounded by our forced relocation from HBF Park last season for 10 of 13 home games while upgrades were made to enable the stadium to host upcoming matches in the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
We are still in talks about compensation with the WA Government and trust they see the financial damage the relocation caused the club, especially after the two COVID-ravaged seasons.
The culmination of these events and the damage they caused has made it all but impossible for us to continue financing the club and led directly to the position we find ourselves in today.
It is with profound sadness that I can confirm my decision to step down as owner of this wonderful football club which is so close to my heart and will always remain so.
I have often referred to Perth Glory as my fourth child and that provides an insight into just how profoundly difficult it is for me to step away.
However, I have always maintained that everything I do is in the best interests of the club and that commitment underpins this decision.
Australian Professional Leagues (APL) will take temporary control of the club in order to safeguard its future in the short-term while a buyer is found who can provide the level of financial support required to take Perth Glory FC forward and provide its Members, fans and sponsors with the success they demand and deserve.
My time as owner of the club may have come to an end, but I will always be incredibly proud of my family’s role in its history.
As an extremely proud West Australian, it has been an incredible privilege to have been a custodian of this iconic brand.
My only regret is not achieving the ultimate goal of a Grand Final win.
In our time we featured in seven memorable Grand Finals (two A-League Men’s, three A-League Women’s and two FFA Cup) and reached the Asian Champions League qualifiers.
I leave the club with an Academy rich in talent, with over 15 of our young players currently representing Australia at various age levels.
This bodes well for the future of our great club and our leagues that are entering a new period of exciting prosperity.
I would like to thank everyone who has supported my family and I during this unforgettable journey.
Our genuine love for Perth Glory has never been stronger and we will always remain passionate supporters of the club.
— with Marco Monteverde, NCA NewsWire