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Souths say future safe despite Crowe exit

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SYDNEY: South Sydney officials say the NRL club's future is bright despite officially announcing co-owner Russell Crowe will sell his share.

Club chairman Nick Pappas said the club was set to announce a seven figure profit next year on the top of increasing sponsorship and membership sales.

"I think this club is in the healthiest position it has even been in and that is on any number of tests," Pappas told a media conference in Sydney on Monday.

Rabbitohs chief executive Shane Richardson moved to assure fans the club would not be relocated nor would their famous colours be changed.

"It is not the end as far as Russell Crowe is concerned," Richardson said.

"Russell has the best interests of this club at heart. If it wasn't for Russell Crowe this club would not be here."

"We are a business built on rocks not sand."

Pappas added that co-owner Peter Holmes a Court was still considering what to do with his 37.5 per cent share of Souths.

Crowe and Holmes a Court bought 75 per cent of the club in 2006.

"I really can't speculate about Peter's role. We will wait and see what Peter's decision is. It's his decision alone."

Pappas said it was the job of Crowe, not the club, to find a buyer for his share of the club.

Prior to the announcement Crowe sought to ease concerns of South Sydney fans as he moves to sell his share of the NRL club.

The actor took to Twitter on Monday, declaring: "South Sydney FC in a great place. Money in the bank, long term contracts with star players, excellent coach. Don't listen to panic merchants."

Crowe has cited family reasons following his marriage split for wanting out of the club at the end of the 2013 season.

However, his move to sell raised fresh concern from former club patriarch George Piggins, who was a fierce opponent of Crowe's and businessman Peter Holmes a Court's successful takeover bid in 2006.

"I think the fans must be very concerned about where the club goes now, and those who voted for the takeover must be very concerned too," Piggins told AAP.

"This is exactly what worried me most about the whole thing ... the fans will be feeling cheated."

"You have to ask where do Souths go from here?

"Where will the money come from considering the struggles leagues clubs are having these days? Will the club still be based in Sydney or might they have to move it somewhere like Perth?

"This brings so much uncertainty, and it was always what troubled me about it.

"But I can't see anyway they can go back to the old model. They will have to find another billionaire who wants to take over and I'm not sure there are too many of them out there."

AAP

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