National Basketball League team Gold Coast Blaze has appointed administrators, but hopes the administrators, Aggs Robson Accountants, can conclude negotiations with a potential equity partner.
Gold Coast Blaze owner Owen Tomlinson said in a statement that, while negotiations continued, the club had been unable to finalise any deal because of a dispute with former coach, Brendan Joyce.
The club owes Joyce more than $350,000 for wrongful termination of his contract.
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“Our former coach, who has obtained a Supreme Court judgment against the company, had refused to delay enforcement proceedings before the required deadline, to enable us to finalise negotiations with this investor and so we have appointed a voluntary administrator to control the affairs of the club pending the completion of these negotiations and thereby secure the long-term future of the club,” said Tomlinson.
Paul Pamenter, chief executive of the Gold Coast Blaze, told SmartCompany the club could “absolutely” be saved from administration.
“It came down to a timing issue, there was a previous statutory demand which expired last week,” says Pamenter.
“We had to take the move that we did to protect the sale.”
He said Joyce was not to blame for the club’s administration.
“We have never said he was to blame. It was the timing to blame to have to take the measure that we did.
“We have taken this measure to shore up the future of the Gold Coast Blaze, it is not about the other alternative.
“It is about making sure we are here for many years to come.”
Pamenter says the club hopes to find a buyer in the next week although he concedes a saviour is unlikely to be found before the meeting of creditors, which is scheduled for Monday, May 21.
“We are not expecting too much today, but we are obviously continuing those discussions and hoping for some update in seven days,” he says.
“It is a significant purchase price, so there is a significant amount of due diligence that should be done as a result of that.”
Pamenter would not disclose who the potential equity partner is, but the Gold Coast Bulletin reported that Basketball Australia interim chief executive officer Scott Derwin said the potential investor was “a person of extreme wealth and extreme substance”
The Bulletin also reported that the potential investor, from a mining background, wants to remain a silent partner in the business, leaving the club’s day-to-day running to the Tomlinson family.