Wests Tigers is sympathetic to the situation that Balmain Tigers Leagues Club currently finds itself in and, as a historic contributor to the game of Rugby League, Wests Tigers is hopeful the issue is resolved quickly.
First and foremost, it is important that Wests Tigers clarifies that Balmain Tigers Leagues Club is two steps removed from the NRL Club.
Wests Tigers does not rely on Balmain Leagues Club funding, and has not for some time.
The Balmain Tigers Leagues Club is owned outright by the Balmain Tigers Football Club.
Wests Tigers is a joint-venture between Balmain Tigers Rugby League Football Club (Balmain Tigers) and Western Suburbs Rugby League Football Group (Wests Group), with funding shortfalls historically covered with a 50/50 split between the two shareholders.
Due to a range of circumstances for the past three seasons this shareholder funding has not occurred to a sufficient level. On the basis of this, Wests Tigers sought assistance, direction and leadership from the NRL, which over time has evolved into a complete governance and financial reform of Wests Tigers.
It became clear that the financial position of Wests Tigers could not be estabilised without governance reform, a process which has been going on for the past six months and is drawing to a conclusion. The result of this governance reform will be a change in Wests Tigers’ structure at board level, with two representatives from Wests Group, two from Balmain Tigers and three Independent Directors. Representation by the shareholders on the reformed board is subject to meeting shareholder funding obligations.
Wests Tigers CEO Grant Mayer said that despite the difficulties facing Balmain Tigers Leagues Club it is business as usual for the NRL side.
"The emotion surrounding the recent Balmain Tigers Leagues Club issues has created increased concern and confusion amongst Wests Tigers Members, fans and corporate supporter base," said Mayer. "Put simply, there is no need for anyone from Wests Tigers point of view to be concerned."
"Wests Tigers have undergone a rigorous process with the NRL to secure the future of the club and would like to ease the concern of our extended family," he said.
"Wests Tigers will represent our supporters proudly on Friday night against the South Sydney Rabbitohs and for seasons to come."
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Part of the reform process will ensure that the Wests Tigers logo and brand will remain in place over the long term. The club and the game has spent the last 15 years building equity in the Wests Tigers brand which is strong, vibrant, and with ongoing support will continue to grow in the future.
"Despite an ongoing media campaign linking Wests Tigers with relocation to Perth I once again would like to confirm that this club is remaining where it is – providing rugby league entertainment and opportunities in western and south-western Sydney," said Mayer.
"It’s an irresponsible claim and one built on self-interest and misinformation.
"At a time when we are busily chasing Members and corporate partners, as well as attempting to shore up our playing ranks, emotional claims are unhelpful in the extreme.
"The best way to ensure that Wests Tigers remains strong is for the club’s casual fans to become Members immediately,” he said.