NRL knocks back Sharks funding for move - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL knocks back Sharks funding for move

07/05/2009 06:24:54 PM Comments (0)

Cronulla boss Tony Zappia says he is unsure what his financially stricken club's next move will be after the NRL knocked back a request from the Sharks for funding to play home games on the Central Coast.

The league's partnership executive committee on Thursday said it was "not prepared to embrace" a request for $75,000 per game for five home games in Gosford for the next five years.

The Sharks plan to proceed with the move but will now rely solely on a deal with Bluetongue Stadium, which has reportedly guaranteed revenue of $100,000 per game to clubs playing at the venue.

Cronulla had hoped to supplement that income with the NRL funding.

"It's obviously disappointing but we'll just have to continue with other opportunities that may present themselves," Zappia told AAP on Thursday.

"We'll work closely with the NRL over the next few months working through the issues.

"One door's closed, we've just got open other doors."

The NRL has $8 million on the table for any club prepared to make a permanent move to Bluetongue Stadium.

That possibility has not yet been discussed by the Sharks but the league's decision could prompt consideration of a full-time move at the club's next board meeting on Tuesday week.

"I've just got to take a bit of time to take a breath and go through it," Zappia said.

"I really don't know at this stage."

Asked if he would now focus on completing negotiations with Bluetongue, Zappia said: "That's something we'll just sit down in the next couple of days and work through."

Zappia is scheduled to meet with NRL boss David Gallop on Friday to discuss the club's parlous financial situation.

Reports have put the combined debts of the Cronulla football and leagues clubs at more than $11 million and suggested they are entirely at the mercy of the St George Bank.

NRL chief executive David Gallop said funding for the Sharks' proposal wasn't justified.

"It was felt that five games at the Central Coast for the Sharks doesn't necessarily solve their problems nor achieve much for the game in terms of having a team on the Central Coast," he told AAP.

"It's neither one thing nor the other."

Asked how concerned he was by Cronulla's situation, Gallop would only say: "Concerned."

"We'll get in and do some work with the Sharks to look at their overall financial picture, look at what other options there are for them.

"We'll continue dialogue about where they're up to and their position with their bank and the position of the leagues club.

"We don't have a blank cheque for these types of situations but we also don't want teams to fall over, so we'll need to look at this situation when we've got a clearer picture."

Zappia was clinging to the belief the NRL would not let the Sutherland Shire club, which entered the competition in 1967, wither away.

"I think it would be a very sad day if that's something they would allow," he said.

"It would be a very sad day for rugby league.

"I think things can be worked out and we've just got to push forward as an organisation with the cooperation of the NRL and keep knocking on doors."

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