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Sponsor adds to hot water at Manly

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by Berkeley_Eagle, Feb 14, 2009.

  1. Berkeley_Eagle

    Berkeley_Eagle Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan

    +2,125 /14
    Sponsor adds to hot water at Manly

    Greg Prichard | February 14, 2009

    THE new major sponsor contributing $2.6million over three years for Manly has chosen to ignore the boardroom politics at the club and put its considerable weight behind chief executive Grant Mayer as the man to take the Sea Eagles into the future. The support for Mayer comes a day after the board voted against giving him a new contract.

    A press conference at Manly yesterday, which had been planned for several weeks to promote the team's World Club Challenge trip to England and their new sponsor, Quantum Eco Hot Water, was instead dominated by discussion on the fallout from the previous night's board meeting.

    The Sea Eagles are a club in crisis, with chairman Scott Penn accusing fellow co-owner Max Delmege of failing to meet commitments to help continue funding the club and threatening legal action if the situation continued.

    "I don't believe there is any dispute about the money owed," Penn said yesterday. "It's probably not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things when it comes to his [company] situation, but we need that money. We're talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time, in the pre-season, when you can't rely on things like gate receipts to keep the club going."

    Penn said the club was not under threat of collapse at this stage, but that if the situation was allowed to continue, then further down the track there could be that risk.

    "We're solvent, there is no question of that," Penn said. "But over the term of the coming months we need that money. Things aren't critical now, but unless the situation changes it will become an issue. If arrangements are not being met, the board has to figure out what to do, and that [legal action] is one of the options. The directors have a fiduciary responsibility."

    Asked about the allegation he wasn't meeting his commitments, Delmege focused on the volume of his long-term support for the club, saying: "I've put in over $12million and the Penn family has put in over $2million - there's a bit of a difference. I'm supporting Manly for the right reasons - passionate reasons - and if God were to take me away, my family would continue that support. We will ensure Manly is around forever."

    Pressed on Penn's contention, Delmege replied: "If we have to top up, because we [Manly] have losses, our family will top up."

    Mayer brought the major sponsorship to the club but, despite his having the support of the Penn family, the board voted 5-2 in favour of not giving him a contract beyond his current one, which expires in October.

    But the new sponsor is backing Mayer, with on of its directors, David Kenney, yesterday saying: "Grant has done a great job and I'm appreciative of the support he has shown us as major sponsors. He's been great for Manly and I hope he would like to stay, and will stay. I know he is going to help us in our relationship with the club."

    Kenney said he hoped the in-fighting at the club was just a case of "start-of-the-year jitters".

    Despite the drama, Mayer remained buoyant and challenged the various elements on the board to pull together for the sake of the club.

    "It's a very political environment here at the moment," he said. "People have used my position as a trigger for a whole rung of other issues, but that's part of being a CEO. Unfortunately, this club excels in drama during the off-season and that's not good for the team or the fans. I just hope our stake-holders can get together in a room and continue to support our club.

    "I'm happy to step aside at the end of the season to help make that happen, if that's what it takes, but Scott hasn't accepted my letter of resignation and nine months is a long time. My aim has always been to be here for a long time, but we need to resolve some issues."

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