Tigers' financial future assured by $8.5 million deal

Tigers' financial future assured by $8.5 million deal

NRL strugglers West Tigers have been beset by financial problems, but a change to the ownership structure has now been agreed.

Wests Tigers' long-term future has been ensured after an $8.5 million deal was agreed between Wests Ashfield and Balmain.

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Wests have been hit by financial problems, with concerns over the sustainability of the club after they were unable to meet a deadline to repay a $5.4 million loan from the NRL.

But a change to the ownership group of the club based in the suburbs of Sydney was confirmed on Friday, with Wests' stake increased.

A statement on the NRL website said: "The ownership structure sees Wests move to 75 per cent ownership with Balmain retaining 25 per cent and the Board expanded to nine directors.

"Balmain has two Board positions, Wests has five Board positions with the remaining two positions being filled by Independent Directors.  

"Wests and Balmain wish to express their thanks to Lucio Di Bartolomeo, who has now stood down from the Wests Tigers Board. Lucio's contributions over the past 20 months have been exceptional. 

"Wests acknowledges Balmain's contribution to the joint venture since 2000 including their integrity in preserving their long history. Both Wests and Balmain are founding 1908 Clubs which, together, will continue to build a proud future for Wests Tigers. 

"Balmain acknowledges Wests Ashfield Leagues' role in securing the operational and financial viability of Wests Tigers over the past four years and for its generous offer to Balmain to secure its place as part of Wests Tigers in the NRL into the future.

"The new arrangement brings the NRL's involvement over the last two years in assisting Wests and Balmain to restructure Wests Tigers to a conclusion. Both Clubs thank the NRL for its role in reaching this agreement."

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