THE hopes of three Queensland National Rugby League (NRL) expansion bids were boosted today as the Gold Coast Titans’ debt woes deepened, but club boss Michael Searle is adamant it has a future.
The Titans property arm faces a bankruptcy hearing next month after a Federal Court ruling today allowed a major creditor to begin wind-up proceedings.
The court gave Reed Constructions permission to seek $1.046m from the Titans' property arm placing further strain on the Gold Coast NRL club, which reportedly has debts totalling $35 million.
The court set the matter to be dealt with on April 20, which gives the Titans’ property group less than 30 days to prove its solvency and avoid being declared bankrupt.
The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) has refused to guarantee the future of the Titans group, which could play into the hands of bidding franchises in Brisbane, Ipswich and Central Queensland.
External auditors appointed by the ARLC have reportedly found the club’s debts stretch further than the property arm and are intertwined with football club operations.
The NRL has declined to offer any further financial bailout for the beleaguered club so far.
However, NRL boss David Gallop says he is determined to keep the Titans afloat while admitting the organisation is under ‘considerable financial stress’.
“We are working through the options,’’ he says.
Titans boss Michael Searle this afternoon released a statement saying the football club was sustainable and projected to achieve a profit this year.
“Despite cash flow projections showing a current shortfall of approximately $2.5 million dollars, The Football Club is projecting a profit in season 2012,” says Searle.
“The current is shortfall is a result of poor home crowds on the back of a disappointing 2011 season, the ongoing servicing costs associated with the building dispute in 2010 and the overall economic downturn on the Gold Coast.
“Our initial discussions with the NRL revolved around the safeguarding of both the Property Trust and the Football Club. After consultation with the ARLC, there are now two strategies in relation to the Football Club and the Property Trust.
“Going forward the Football Club on its own, is profitable and sustainable. Our current discussions with the ARLC are focused only on the Football Club funding to ensure its longevity and sustainability.”
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