Gold Coast debt a titanic $25m, auditors reveal
Advertisement

Gold Coast debt a titanic $25m, auditors reveal

THE Gold Coast Titans' dire predicament has become even grimmer, with accountants telling the ARL Commission they owe $25 million and that the debt is not confined to the organisation's property arm but is intertwined with the football club.

On the day the Herald revealed the game's new administrators were discussing the prospect of allowing the Titans to fold and forming another franchise on the Gold Coast, the accountants' reports confirmed that the NRL's newest club is on its knees.

How the Herald reported the Titans' predicament yesterday.

How the Herald reported the Titans' predicament yesterday.

The reports were damning as they countered the Titans' claims the debt accumulated by the Centre of Excellence facility next to Skilled Park was not linked to the football club, which the Titans say is profitable.

''We have received reports from our external accountants today that confirm the whole structure at the Titans is under considerable financial stress,'' ARLC chief executive David Gallop said in a statement.

Advertisement

''We are working through the options around that but there needs to be an acceptance that the various arms of the group's business are intertwined in terms of the level of debt and that will have ramifications as future options are explored.

''The game's clear goal is to maintain a viable football club at the Titans. The issues around the building are creating an alarming diversion from what would otherwise be a successful expansion of our game into an important area.''

It is believed accountants uncovered a total debt of at least $25 million owed to the Commonwealth Bank, builder Reed Constructions and others. Reed Constructions is currently seeking to wind up the Titans' property arm in Federal Court in Brisbane.

Titans boss Michael Searle told the Herald on Wednesday a decision had been made to sell the Centre of Excellence - but even if a buyer could be found, the facility's value has plummeted and would be likely to fetch $12m at most.

The Titans' property arm, Gold Coast Titans (Property) Pty Ltd, was established in 2007 to own and run the Centre of Excellence and Titanium Bar at Surfers Paradise. While the Titans appear on the brink, speculation persisted that they were close to luring Melbourne halfback Cooper Cronk to the tourist strip for a reported $2.6m over four years.

Questions continue to be raised over the Titans' spending on players - they announced Dave Taylor's four-year contract, reportedly worth $1.8m, on Monday - but the ARLC is not ready to impose a moratorium on the club signing players. The ARLC is considering a range of options as to how it might intervene if required to do so. The most extreme - but increasingly plausible - option is to allow the club to fold, and then license another entity in the region.

A more moderate solution is for the Titans to be bailed out of their financial troubles and re-structured under a new administration, with new investors. The ARLC has made clear it is determined not to abandon the Gold Coast as a rugby league area.

The Queensland government also has a vested interest in the sport in the region, having built the $160 million stadium at Robina to house the Titans.

Loading

With the A-League team Gold Coast United having been stripped of its licence, the loss of the community's NRL team would render the venue a virtual white elephant.

The Queensland Sports Minister, Phil Reeves, who could lose the job tomorrow with the state going to the polls, said there was no contractual agreement between the NRL and the government. ''Games played at Skilled Park are done so under an agreement between the venue hirer and the stadium operator,'' he said.

Chris Barrett is Sports Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald.

Most Viewed in Sport

Loading
Advertisement