Huge $40m windfall will save the Sharks
THE Cronulla Sharks have ensured their long-term NRL future after the club secured an incredible $40 million deal to fast-track property development cash.
The mammoth agreement, set to be announced shortly, will see the club paid an immediate $9 million to address all their debts, their salary cap fine and an anticipated $3 million loss in 2019.
Later this year developers Capital Bluestone will also contribute $18 million into a future investments fund which should hand the club an estimated $1.5 million in income per year.
The Sharks will also receive $12 million once work gets underway on the new Leagues Club and shopping centre on their Woolooware Bay site, the money dedicated to the building of the Leagues Club (2021 completion date).
In return, Cronulla have agreed to sell their remaining interest in the Woolooware Bay Town Centre development.
"We're not going anywhere," said Sharks chairman Dino Mezzatesta,
"It places us in an absolute position of strength for the future and guarantees the Sharks' future will always be in the Shire."
The deal will be welcome relief for the cash-strapped Sharks who have faced the threat of relocation as the NRL looks to expand.
The Sharks had been under enormous financial strain without a major sponsor, having to deal with the salary cap scandal, the termination payment to coach Shane Flanagan and calls to strip the club of the 2016 premiership.
This is despite the fact the Sharks were actually $130,000 under the salary cap when they won the competition, although the NRL have since found two non-compliant third party deals, collectively worth $70,000.
The club was hauled before an NRL finance committee late last year to explain their precarious position with a warning from CEO Todd Greenberg of no future bailouts for financially stricken clubs.
The new funding deal elevates the Sharks to a powerful position alongside the most secure of the nine Sydney-based clubs.
Outside of the $40 million, the Sharks are poised to receive a further $16 million from the State and Federal governments for ground improvements and a high performance facility at the venue they own.
"We will be as strong and secure as any of our rivals in Sydney," Mezzatesta said.
"We have undergone the most searching compliance overhaul and can now move forward with a new coach and a great roster capable of playing finals football.
"This agreement enables us to de-risk rather than divorce ourselves from the development.
"We acknowledge and thank our partner Capital Bluestone for working towards this successful outcome for both parties and for its ongoing support for the Sharks."Live stream the 2019 NRL Telstra Premiership on Kayo Sports. Every game of every round live & anytime in HD and ad-break free during play. Try 14-Days Free Now >