Blog And Discussion

PRESS RELEASE - OCTOBER 26th 2018

An urgent meeting of the Board of Balmain Leagues Club Pty Ltd (BLC) was called to determine the future of BLC.
BLC is a subsidiary of the Balmain Tigers Rugby League Football Club, a 1908 Australian Rugby League Foundation Club, which is autonomous.

In recent weeks the Directors of BLC have been in extensive discussions with Brian Hood and Gary He representing Heworth Construction Group (Heworth) (new owners of the Balmain Leagues Club Rozelle site), Ian Wright of Rozelle Village (RV) and the Boards of Wests Magpies Ashfield and Ryde Eastwood Leagues Club to explore financial ways forward, consistent with our responsibilities as Directors.

Essentially these discussions have been fruitless.

The Board took the decision to place BLC into Voluntary Administration (VA). We believed that all avenues available to allow BLC to meet its future financial obligations were exhausted.

This decision was extremely painful for all the members of the Board for a number of significant reasons.

Primarily, because we realize the shock and distress it will cause to our wonderful, dedicated staff members and their families. They have worked under extremely difficult conditions for some time and have always risen to any challenge, often without receiving any payment. It has been an honour to have worked with people of such integrity and merit.

Also, affected could be the caterers (Enrico and Karen) at TIGERS Five Dock “Family Brasserie”, which has become hugely popular with our members over the last two years and the caterers (Henry and Gordon) at TIGERS Sydney Markets Restaurant.

In addition, placing the Club in VA is a great loss for all our loyal and passionate members, those who have placed their trust in us and gave their unstinting support throughout the Club’s protracted exile from our “home” of over 60 years on Victoria Road, Rozelle. It is not known yet how this will impinge on the members of the Five Dock Bowling Club.

The Club was moved from its Rozelle home after being given notice to vacate in 2008 as part of the then proposed Keneally Government Sydney Metro Project.  TIGERS Five Dock and TIGERS Sydney Markets were established over 9 years ago as interim facilities after receiving a loan from Rozelle Village the owner of the Rozelle site. The Clubs were only contemplated as interim facilities with a return to Rozelle contingent on the success of the owner to obtain development approval for the Rozelle site.  Something that has not occurred in almost 10 years.

Burdened by loan repayments for almost 8 years and starved of any financial ability to update, modernize and simply keep up with basic increases in operating costs, the clubs have become less and less profitable.

Heworth Constructions who is currently in the process of buying the Rozelle site from Rozelle Village have loaned the Club a total of $300,000 and gave a commitment to further fund $300,000 for urgent assistance. That further $300,000 has not been forthcoming and the Club has been told it will not be paid to the Club.

Of course, the planned RMS West Harbour tunnel overshadows the Rozelle site. This could delay the final site development for a further 8 or more years.

I do not want to go further into these matters other than offering this short explanation of some of the significant recent events that have led inexorably to our decision.

BLC has been an important part of our community for many generations. The Club has not only provided finance for our Balmain Tigers Rugby League Football Club which has competed at the highest level of Rugby League in Australia for over 110 years, but also the funding of our respected Balmain District Junior Rugby League (BDJRL). In past times, financial assistance was also provided to a number of sporting bodies in our district as well as community welfare organisations. The Club at Rozelle was a valued location for all of its members, providing entertainment, low cost dining and a spacious, comfortable communal meeting place.

We particularly remember our debt to the pioneers of our great Club and the men and women who served it with distinction. The Club, right up to the present, has been governed only by volunteers from its ranks. Their dedication and sacrifice made this a great Club and has been an inspiration to those of us who still serve it.

A special tribute must be made to the late Kevin Rooney, President of BLC since 2001 until his passing only 8 weeks ago.  Kevin will forever remain the last serving President of the great Club.

We appreciate the support from so many, particularly the Mayor of Inner West Council, Mr Darcy Byrne and Mr Richard Kelly, interim Chairman, of BDJRL and his Board.

This day touches our hearts and is one of the saddest in our lives. We were not able to protect the precious legacy that was entrusted to us by so many good honest people.

We all did our best but it was not enough.
Leslie Glen
Chairman BTRLFC

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