NRL boss Dave Smith has promised the Gold Coast Titans have a long-term future after the governing body took control of the embattled club’s licence.
As the Titans reels from drug allegations surrounding five players, the club has been placed in voluntary administration with the board conceding it could no longer continue to meet their financial obligations, including staff and player salaries.
The NRL is now the club’s sole owner, with Titans founding father Michael Searle stepping down as shareholder.
Graham Annesley will continue as CEO while chairperson Rebecca Frizelle and directors Darryl Kelly and Paul Donovan will remain on the board.
The NRL is already running the Newcastle Knights after taking control of that struggling club last June.
Smith said the NRL has no desire to own clubs, but stepped in to prove their commitment to the Gold Coast – a region long considered a sporting graveyard and one that has had several attempts at sustaining a rugby league franchise.
“There have been a series of problems. These problems are too big for the existing board to get across,” Smith said.
“What this does is it says to everybody out there that we are committed to the fans.
“It’s not the end of the world, we will solve these problems.
“We will build a club the fans can be proud of.”
Annesley insisted the restructure was “completely unrelated” to the crisis surrounding Titans players Greg Bird, Dave Taylor, Beau Falloon, Jamie Dowling and Kalifa Faifai Loa, who are all scheduled to appear in court on drugs charges over the next fortnight.
“Timing, who knows? I can’t answer that question,” he said.
“The fact is we are here today dealing with the situation we are presented with.
“Every business needs financial stability and this club now has it.”
Annesley said the club had organised a new training field following their eviction from The Southport School last week in the wake of the drugs scandal and would move in tomorrow.
“Since I have arrived at this club I have constantly been asked ‘is the club going to fold and ‘is the club being relocated’,” he said.
“Today the clear answer to both is ‘no’.
“This announcement will give great heart to our members, sponsors, corporate partners and fans that the Gold Coast Titans are going nowhere and it is onwards and upwards from here on.”
HISTORY OF LEAGUE TEAMS ON THE GOLD COAST:
Gold Coast-Tweed Giants: 1988-89
Gold Coast Seagulls: 1990-95
Gold Coast Chargers: 1996-88
Gold Coast Titans: 2007-present