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A-League club Perth Glory goes into receivership

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A-Leagues administrators the Australian Professional Leagues have appointed receivers to manage the sale of Perth Glory’s licence after accepting the immediate return of the club’s licence from now-former owner Tony Sage.

KordaMentha has been tapped to oversee the transition of West Australia’s lone representative in Australia’s top flight to new ownership, with it expected that new patrons will be in place “within the next 10 weeks”.

Glory’s ongoing obligations will continue to be met by KordaMentha during this process, with the club’s ongoing men’s, women’s, and academy operations to continue as normal as they prepare for the 2023-24 season.

“Perth Glory have faced incredibly difficult circumstances over the last five years and we are pleased to close off this period of uncertainty for players, staff, members and fans as they continue their preparations for next season,” APL chief executive Danny Townsend said.

“Here we have a process which allows for the Club’s operations to continue ‘business-as-usual’, whilst 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.”

Men’s coach Ruben Zadkovich departed Glory following a ninth-placed finish last season, with Kenny Lowe currently serving as caretaker as a permanent replacement is sought.

Under the guidance of Alex Epakis, the club’s women’s side has finished fifth and just missed finals in each of the last two A-League Women seasons.

“An orderly sale process for the Perth Glory Football Club [will] commence immediately,” said KordaMentha’s Andrew Knight.

“While this process is being undertaken, the receivers and managers will continue to operate the Club in a ‘business as usual’ manner”

A long-time fan of the club, Sage first took an ownership stake in Glory as part of a consortium in February of 2007, before taking sole control of the club two years later when he bought out fellow investor Brett McKeon.

Though ensuring its ongoing presence in the A-Leagues, Glory’s men’s side never matched the highs of its NSL existence during the mining magnate’s tenure, losing in the 2012 and 2019 grand finals, but it did secure a maiden A-League Men premiership in 2018-19.

The club’s women’s side secured a W-League premiership in 2014, the same season in which it made the first of three, unsuccessful appearances in the women’s grand final.

However, declaring that the costs associated with running the club were prohibitive and that he was unable to continue to absorb the associated losses, Sage began the process of seeking new investment in Glory in 2018, a process that has remained ongoing in the five years since.

In 2020, Sage notably claimed that he was on the verge of selling a majority stake in the club to London-based cryptocurrency group London Football Exchange (LFE) and that he, in an announcement that can still be found on the Glory website, was set to become chairman of its newly established football group arm.

That deal, however, collapsed after an investigation from Perth outlet 6PR discovered that the figure behind the LFE, businessman Jim Aylward, was in fact a convicted fraudster named James Abbass Biniaz.

With the appointment of receivers, Glory now becomes the second A-Leagues side actively seeking new ownership alongside the Newcastle Jets, who have been propped up by a cadre of fellow A-Leagues owners since Martin Lee was stripped of his licence to run the club in January of 2021.

In addition, the A-Leagues are seeking investors in two new licences in the Canberra and Auckland markets for the 2024-25 A-Leagues season, with the asking price set at $AUD 25m for both.

Two further expansion sides, whose licences are also expected to be valued at $AUD 25m, are then targeted for entry to the leagues in 2025-26 in two markets yet to be determined.

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