Throughout the ownership negotiations, Members and fans had questions but as the process was conducted with complete confidentiality between parties, the Club was unable to provide answers.
With the negotiations now concluded, and the NRL announcing on Saturday it will take ownership control of the Club, we clarify a number of frequently asked questions.
Q: Who owns what under the new structure?
A: The NRL will hold the license in the interim, while negotiations with the potential new owners continue. The Club will continue to operate as normal.
Q: Why has this process taken so long and why have Members been kept in the dark?
A: It was agreed by all parties that confidentiality in relation to the negotiations were kept in order to achieve the overall objective as quickly as possible. The process took longer than we all would have preferred, but achieving the best possible outcome for the Club was the most important objective. As soon as the model was confirmed and official, we have shared with all Members and supporters.
Q: How much does it cost to run a football Club each year?
A: Costs to run a football club can vary greatly. What is important for our Club moving forward is that we build a sustainable model where our costs are managed appropriately given our revenue streams and unnecessary debt is not incurred.
Q: Did HSG have copyright over the logo and jersey and try to charge the Members Club/NRL to sell it back?
A: Not at all, this was never an issue in the negotiation at any stage.
Q: What is the point of having a Members Club involved in the negotiations if the Members don’t know anything that has been going on?
A: The Members Club's role was to represent on behalf of the Members’ interests throughout these negotiation. They also played an integral role in this fantastic outcome for the Club.
Q: Was the HSG ownership a failure?
A: HSG invested a significant amount into the Club. In particular the investment and additional resources into our junior development, which has already seen our U16s crowned National Champions. We hope to see our local juniors progress through to our NRL team on the back of this investment.
Q: Did HSG get financial compensation to relinquish the license?
A: HSG made it clear it wanted to leave the Club in a strong financial position and played an integral role in achieving this objective.
Q: I thought it was our town, our team but now it is the NRL’s team?
A: The NRL will hold the license in the interim. The Club has and will be given full autonomy to run our team on behalf of our town. NRL CEO Dave Smith reiterated this at the press conference in Newcastle on Saturday. The NRL understands the parochialism in our region and has no plans to deter this passion for our Club.
Q: Who makes decisions over recruitment and coaches?
A: Current management will make decisions in the Club’s best interests in regard to recruitment and coaching staff.
Q: Was the NRL taking over the only option?
A: The NRL, as the governing body, holding the Club’s license while ownership negotiations for an appropriate owner continues is clearly the most sensible option in the interim.
Q: Is the Club financially secure?
A: Yes. The Club is now in the strongest financial position ever.
Q: Do player contracts now become void?
A: No, players contracts are unaffected by the change of ownership. All players are contracted to the Newcastle Knights – not HSG.
Q: Will there be administration changes in 2014?
A: No, staff are employed by the Newcastle Knights and it is business as usual.
Q: I am a Member, what happens to my membership now?
A: Nothing changes from a membership point of view. All membership entitlements remain the same and we thank all our Members for your support, patience and passion.
To read a message from the CEO for Members and supporters, CLICK HERE.