ON HOLD: Our Knights facilitators Mike Rabbitt, Rob Tew, Marty Adnum, Andrew Poole, John Duncan, Nick Dan and Michael Neilson announced their campaign in December. Picture: Simone De PeakTHE consortium seeking community ownership for the Newcastle Knights has put its campaign on hold, citing a “reached agreement” with the NRL for Wests to take control of the club.
Former Knights chairman Rob Tew and Our Knights facilitator Rob Tew said the group had suspended as the negotiations progressed.
“The Our Knights facilitators are excited that it appears the Knights will continue to have a future in this region,” he told the group’s supporters on social media.
How Newcastle could own its team“This was the reason we commenced our campaign back in November, when there was a risk that the licence may shift from the region in the absence of a local buyer at that time.”
Mr Tew wrote that “it appears the Wests Group has reached agreement with the NRL” but Fairfax Media reported this week that Wests Group president Owen Kilpatrick hosed down suggestions his company was on the verge of stepping in.
“It’s still a work in progress,’’ Kilpatrick said. “We’re certainly not close to getting any deal done, no.
BOWING OUT: Rob Tew’s full post.
Mr Tew said the group understood the NRL had long preferred Wests to a community ownership model “as a consequence of Wests’ history of success, operational scale and asset backing”.
“We have respected the NRL’s decision in undertaking those negotiations,” he said.
“At this point we don’t know what ownership structure is being proposed by Wests. It is Wests’ prerogative should they wish to offer a community shareholding in the Knights.”
The Our Knights group had proposed a model that would raise $20 million through selling $500 shares in the Knights in a model inspired by overseas community-owned teams including the Green Bay Packers.