Port debt crisis: powerbrokers may quit - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Port debt crisis: powerbrokers may quit

By Steve Larkin 31/05/2011 01:40:05 PM Comments (0)

Powerbrokers at debt-ridden Port Adelaide could quit as the AFL club's financial crisis reaches flashpoint.

The licence holder of the club, the SANFL, says it can't continue to bankroll Port's debt and may take over the club.

Port president Brett Duncanson and chief executive Mark Haysman were in meetings on Tuesday, under pressure to retain their roles as other directors reportedly also faced calls to resign.

The SANFL advisor who was last year appointed to the Port board, John Irving, quit on Monday night.

His resignation came as the SANFL, burdened by $27 million debt of its own, said it had run out of credit lines to fund Port.

Port languish near the bottom of the AFL ladder with two wins this year and are in the midst of a debt reduction campaign.

Without the SANFL's backing, the AFL will be forced into a rescue package for Port, just 14 years into their AFL existence.

Port said on Tuesday it was in "ongoing discussions" about forward funding with both the SANFL and AFL.

The club said in a statement it forecast a $2 million rise in earnings this year.

"While the club has made a substantial improvement, it has a funding gap consistent with that outlined in three-year forecasts in 2010," the statement said.

"Discussions are continuing."

Port players and supporters have been asked for donations and cleared more than $1 million of the club's $3 million core debt.

But the cash flow problems have eaten into Port's football department, which spends $4 million less a year than premiers Collingwood.

Power coach Matthew Primus appealed for more donations, saying the cash imbalance was hurting on-field ambitions.

"We are well aware of our ability and need to invest heavily in our football department," Primus said last Tuesday, citing coaching staff, medical and recruiting as areas needing more funds.

"We are playing catch-up ... we know we need to spend more in a lot of areas but we can't do it straight away."

Port believe the 2014 move of home games to Adelaide Oval from the SANFL owned AAMI Stadium will secure its financial future.

Duncanson has said surveys showed their membership could lift by 70 per cent and crowds rise 30 per cent from the shift to Adelaide Oval, where a $535 million redevelopment looms.

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