February 25, 2020 16:43:47
An ambitious and controversial plan by a London-based cryptocurrency group to buy A-League club Perth Glory has fallen through, with Football Federation Australia (FFA) confirming the deal is off.
- Owner Tony Sage was negotiating with the London Football Exchange
- The group offered virtual currency for supporters to buy a stake in the club
- But rumours soon surfaced the deal was not as close as was claimed
The FFA said Glory owner Tony Sage had pulled out of the deal, after travelling to London to go through a due diligence process with his lawyers and representatives of the London Football Exchange (LFE) group.
That came despite the Glory releasing a statement less than two weeks ago claiming the club had reached an “asset sale and purchase agreement” with LFE.
Mr Sage also claimed he was set to become chairman of LFE on March 1, despite still needing to do due diligence to decide whether the group was a suitable buyer for Perth Glory.
Speaking to the ABC on February 12, a “very emotional” Mr Sage said the sale of the Glory to LFE would bring many opportunities and leave the club better placed to compete financially with other A-League clubs.
LFE also released a statement saying the deal had been finalised, and a video in which the group’s founder, Jim Aylward, celebrated the deal.
Mr Aylward told Perth radio station 6PR the deal already had FFA approval.
Just two days later, Mr Sage released another statement, urging fans not to believe the “fake news” of a deal having been completed.
The FFA said it never received any formal proposal and that last night Mr Sage advised the body’s head of leagues, Greg O’Rourke, that he was no longer pursuing the sale with LFE.
Mr Sage is yet to respond to calls and text messages from the ABC, and the Glory said nobody from the club would be commenting beyond a statement issued today.
When asked whether it was Mr Sage’s decision alone to cancel the sale, or whether there was pressure from the FFA not to sell to LFE, spokesmen from both the FFA and the Glory declined to comment.
Glory fans breathe sigh of relief
Glory fan Blayne Treadgold, who runs The Far Post Perth podcast and webpage, said supporters were happy to hear of the collapse of the proposed deal.
“From a fan’s point of view, it’s a bit of a relief,” he said.
“As time went on, I think the red flags kind of turned into screaming sirens.
“The fans got more and more sceptical about the whole saga really.
“[There were] too many inconsistencies with the whole lot, the PR train-wreck that went along with the announcements [and] the retractions.
“But it’s just disappointing that the club that we all love has been dragged through the mud once again.”
Mr Treadgold said supporters would make up their own minds about the level of faith they had in Mr Sage after the deal fell through.
“I think that’s going to come down to the individual, but it certainly doesn’t do him any favours in the credibility stakes,” he said.
February 25, 2020 14:05:42
stories from Western Australia