Sport Rugby League NRL takes control of Knights

NRL takes control of Knights

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The NRL has taken control of embattled club Newcastle.

Chief executive Dave Smith announced on Saturday that the governing body had taken ownership of the Knights from businessman Nathan Tinkler’s Hunter Sports Group (HSG).

He assured fans the Knights would continue to play out of Newcastle and would keep their traditional jersey and logo.

“The Knights will continue to be Newcastle through and through,” Mr Smith said.

“The team will look the same, they will continue to be based in Newcastle and they will represent this region proudly like they have for the last 26 years.

“The difference is that, financially, they will be one of the top-tier clubs in the competition.”

Tinkler relinquished ownership after he failed to get a $10.52 million bank guarantee 11 weeks ago.

The agreement was reached after extensive negotiations between the former owners and the Knights Members Club, which will hold a 20 per cent minority interest under the new structure.

Smith said the arrangement was designed to stabilise the club while the NRL searched for a long-term owner.

The Knights board will consist of one community representative nominated by the Members Club, two shareholder representatives initially from the NRL, and four independent directors.

The cash proceeds of the bank guarantee will be used to pay HSG’s existing employee and supplier obligations and to provide $5.1 million in start-up funds for the new club.

There will be no change to the business operations of the club for the rest of the season.

“We now have an opportunity for a fresh, strong start and that will be welcomed by our proud rugby league community,” Knights chief executive Matt Gidley said.