NEWCASTLE Rugby League chairman John Crooks says no individual clubs will profit from the pending sale of Newcastle Leagues Club.
Newcastle RL has found a buyer for its Parry Street licensed premises, and a deal worth more than $2 million is expected to settle next month.
But the sale has been clouded by the revelation that one of the leagues club’s founding members, Waratah-Mayfield, are seeking legal advice to verify if they are entitled to a share of the proceeds. Waratah were one of nine clubs that established the leagues club in the late 1950s, but no longer play in the Newcastle RL competition, having dropped down to Newcastle and Hunter Rugby League C-grade.
Waratah chairman Kevin King told the Newcastle Herald on Thursday the matter was “now in legal hands” and that his club’s chief concern was how, and why, it had been removed from the Newcastle RL constitution.
“We’re just asking for the information to show that it was legally done ... we don’t understand how we could be removed as a part-owner,” King said.
Northern Suburbs, who reformed this year almost three decades after merging with Nelson Bay, are in the same situation as Waratah.
A North source told the Herald Bluebags officials were “monitoring the situation with interest”.
“We’re not looking to cause trouble but, depending on what happens with Waratah, it could create a precedent,” he said.
Crooks confirmed neither Waratah nor North were member clubs under the Newcastle RL constitution.
He could not specify exactly when their names had been removed from the constitution, but said it would have occurred after both dropped out of the competition. He said all proceeds from the sale of the leagues club would be re-invested to run the Newcastle RL, rather than dividing the proceeds among the clubs.
“That’s the big thing – no one is getting a cut out of this,” Crooks said. “It will be used to purchase another property, which will generate three times the revenue that we’re currently getting from the leagues club.”
Crooks said if Waratah and/or Norths were able to meet entry criteria, they could return to the Newcastle RL “down the track”.
"They’ll still be beneficiaries of what we're doing anyway if they can get back to district footy,” he said.
They'll still be beneficiaries of what we're doing anyway if they can get back to district footy.JOHN CROOKS
"We have done our due diligence. We haven't made this decision in five minutes. We've been looking at it for the last 12 months.
“Making sure what we've done we're allowed to do and that we're doing the right thing for rugby league in Newcastle. And we are.”