Frequently Asked Questions

What is the relationship between Balmain Tigers Rugby League Football Club and the Balmain Leagues Club?

The Balmain Leagues Club was established in 1957 to support the Balmain Tigers Rugby League Football Club operations and provide a club house for the football club. The Leagues Club has financially supported the Football Club from this time, providing funding for football operations at all levels.

What are the objects (that relate to the BTRLFC) for which the Balmain Leagues Club was established?

The objects under the Constitution of the Balmain Leagues Club that relate to the BTRLFC are as follows:-

(a) To provide for members and for members’ guests a social and sporting Club with all the usual facilities of a Club including residential and other accommodation, liquid and other refreshment, libraries and provision for sporting, musical and educational activities and other social amenities.

(b) To assist generally in the promotion, conduct and propagation of Rugby League Football in the Rugby League Football District of Balmain or elsewhere and to provide or assist in the provision of training and conditioning and teaching facilities for football played in accordance with the rules of the New South Wales Rugby Football League.

It is for this reason that the relationship referred to Item 1 between the two entities primarily exists.

Who are the Directors of the Balmain Leagues Club?

The current directors of the Balmain Leagues Club are Kevin Rooney (President), William Chalk, Leslie Glen, Danny Stapleton, Steve Lavers, James Myatt, Garry Leo, Gary Thompson, John Chalk (AM), Dawn Fraser (AO, MBE).

What are directors paid?

Directors receive no payment for their services on the board of the Balmain Leagues Club or the Balmain Tigers Rugby League Football Club. All board positions are voluntary.

What is Balmain Leagues Club’s immediate priority and why?

The immediate priority for Balmain Leagues Club is to ensure the financial viability of Tigers Five Dock and Tigers Sydney Markets and to return to our traditional site at Rozelle. Rozelle is, and has been, our home for more than 50 years. The quicker that we can get back to a club on the Rozelle site, the quicker we can become financially viable and start supporting the local community and our football club again.

Why does the future of the Leagues Club affect the future of the Football Club?

The football club has relied on funding from the Leagues Club to continue high quality football operations for some time. As this funding has decreased in recent years, the ability for the football club to operate in a high performance environment has been restricted. If the future of the Leagues Club could be secured, the future of the football club could also be secured, along with our involvement in the NRL joint-venture franchise that we started, Wests Tigers, as well as our ability to encourage and develop the junior league in our area.

How does the survival of the Balmain Leagues Club affect junior rugby league in the Balmain area?

Until recently the Balmain Junior Rugby League has been funded entirely by the Balmain Leagues Club, including all registration fees and club uniforms. The long-term viability of the Balmain Junior Rugby League is dependent upon ongoing sponsorship and funding received from the Balmain Leagues Club. Should Balmain Leagues Club cease to exist, the Balmain Junior Rugby League would need to find another significant financial backer.

How did the Balmain Leagues Club secure approval for the Master plan from Leichhardt Council and the FSR of 3.9:1?

After extended negotiations about a Master plan for the Rozelle site, which began in 2003, the Balmain Leagues Club was advised by Council to purchase a number of surrounding properties to assist in progressing the development process and to assist in approving a special FSR of 3.9:1 for the site. After $8 million was spent acquiring those properties, a special FSR of 3.9:1 was approved by Council in 2008.

Balmain Leagues Club says it spent more than $8 million to ensure it would win approval from Leichhardt Council for the current Master plan on the site. What was the $8 million spent on and why?

The $8 million spent by the Balmain Leagues Club for the Master plan approval was primarily spent on acquiring properties, which surrounded the site, along with various design and architecture costs. These costs were accrued, particularly the acquisition of properties, on advice from Leichhardt Council to ensure the Master plan could be approved and access to the site could be provided.

What was the size (floor area) of the Club in the design submitted when the 3.9/1 ratio was granted?

The floor area of the Club in the design submitted when the 3.9/1 ratio was granted was approximately 3650sqm. The current application before the Land and Environment Court includes over 3600sqm of space dedicated for the use of Balmain Leagues Club.

In the event of Balmain Tigers becoming insolvent, which other entities may apply to run a club in the space provided within a development on the site?

No-one else will be able to run a Community Club within the development site unless they are willing to purchase or lease the space from the owner. The caveat was granted for Balmain Leagues Club. In the event of BLC becoming insolvent the agreement for lease and legal entitlement would immediately cease to exist. The owner of the premises would be able to lease the premises to another user.

Why won’t Ryde Eastwood Leagues Club help?

They assist when and where they can and they currently sponsor the Wests Tigers’ NSW Cup side. They are not permitted in their Constitution to own or share in ownership of a NRL Club.

What happens to the SG Ball and Harold Matthews team if Balmain Tigers goes into Administration?

Balmain Tigers would endeavour to continue to operate these junior representative sides. They have won many competitions in recent years, and produced a number of current NRL first grade players. We will continue our fight to return our Club to Rozelle to prevent any disturbance in the historic relationship between the Leagues Club and the Football Club.

How did Reed Construction’s financial failure affect the development of the site? Why didn’t we get a new construction company to take over? Did Balmain Leagues club pay them any monies?

Reed Construction was financially dependent on Lehman Brothers which was one of the first casualties of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Once the enormity of the GFC was realised in Australia, all significant development was halted. No payments were made to Reed Construction.

Leichhardt Council gave approval to the Masterplan in 2008 with an FSR of 3.9:1 and then proceeded to block the development. Could no legal action be taken against the Council for the Club’s loss?

No. We trusted their advice. We took their advice in good faith. There is no legal basis for the Club any action against Council. In any case, there are no funds available.

Why did the Club exit the site in 2010? Couldn’t they have just stayed and continued trading until a development application was approved?

The owner, Mr Ian Wright, was instructed by the NSW State Government to vacate the site in November 2009 for the incoming Sydney Metro rail project. Mr Wright thus instructed the club to vacate the site and assisted the club in transferring operations to two satellite clubs at Five Dock and Sydney Markets at Flemington. There was no indication made to the club or the owner that the Sydney Metro would not go ahead.

Why did the Club just not go back into Rozelle when the Sydney Metro was cancelled?

Acting on the information provided to the owner by the State Government, the Club had made a number of decisions which made it practically impossible to return to the Rozelle without it being in a new development. This included selling assets no longer required for the two new clubs, making a large number of staff redundant and committing funds and resources towards the Five Dock and Sydney Markets clubs. Given the nature of the notice to vacate, it was practically impossible for the Club to simply return to the Rozelle site.

With the NSW government proposed use of the site for the Sydney Metro project and its subsequent abandonment, is the club entitled to any compensation?

No, we have explored this avenue and taken legal advice. The advice is that we are not entitled to compensation.

Do the two Clubs at Flemington and Five Dock produce any profits?

Yes, particularly the Club at Sydney Markets, Flemington. Most of the profits are going back into the Leagues Club and its financial commitments.

If Balmain Leagues Club went into voluntary administration, will that mean that the Football Club will need to fold? I thought they were two separate entities.

They are indeed two separate entities. However, BLC supports the football club financially and has done so since its opening more than 60 years ago. The Football Club does not have any other significant source of income. It has to pay more than $225,000 p.a to maintain its operations. We would have to seek alternate sources of income, to cover our expenses.

When are we going to start the effort to save the Football Club that some of us supported our entire life?

All our time, energy and resources are being channelled towards saving the Leagues Club and paying off the debt currently owed. Saving the Leagues Club is the immediate priority. Once we are in a position to launch a “fighting fund” for the Football Club and its operations we will let our members and the community know.

The Sydney Morning Herald published that the Club had been sold in contravention to the Registered Clubs Act. Is this true?

Many of the accusations in that story were false. The Club site was not sold in contravention to the Registered Clubs Act. Following the publishing of a story in the Sydney Morning Herald on June 30th, 2012 suggesting that it was, the Club was formally investigated by the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) on two occasions. No adverse findings were made against the Club.

What investigations has the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) made in relation to the Club?

The ICAC has not conducted any investigations into the sale of the club or the development application that was before the Planning and Assessment Commission, and has found no reason to do so.

What relationship does Eddie Obeid have with the Club?

There is no relationship, formal or informal, between Eddie Obeid and the Club.

How much money does the Club owe to Western Suburbs?

The Club does not owe any money to Western Suburbs. The Club’s two major creditors are Rozelle Village (BLC) and the Australian Rugby League Commission (BT).

The Club offers nothing financially and no juniors to the Wests Tigers joint venture, why are they still part of it?

This is simply not true. Balmain Tigers has borrowed the money to finance its side of the joint venture Wests Tigers from the NRL. This money must be repaid by Balmain Tigers by March 2016.

The Board is confident that a return to the Rozelle site as part of a development would see the Club work towards a financial position where it can re-pay the debt and meet its continuing obligations to the Wests Tigers joint venture.

Claims about a lack of junior players are also a falsehood – 12 of the Wests Tigers NRL squad in 2016 are products of the Balmain Tigers Junior Representative Program (Luke Brooks, Tyler Cassel, Manaia Cherrington, Robbie Farah, Dene Halatau, Kyle Lovett, Nathan Milone, Mitchell Moses, Tim Simona, Bayley Sironen, Curtis Sironen and Aaron Woods). In total, there are another 13 players across the NRL first grade squads who played in either the Balmain Junior League or the Balmain Tigers Junior Representative teams (SG Ball and Harold Matthews) and another three coaches at NRL clubs who have been part of the Balmain Tigers development system.