Rival clubs secure Newcastle’s future

A consortium of current A-League club investors have taken control of Newcastle after Martin Lee was stripped of the Jets licence.

Football Australia and Australian Professional Leagues on Monday announced the immediate termination of the A-League and W-League licence held by Lee in the name of Newcastle Jets Club Pty Ltd for breaching the club participation agreement.

The breach was for failing to meet set deadlines to pay debts.

A new licence has been issued to an existing group of A-League investors – from Sydney FC, Western Sydney Wanderers and Western United – who will run the club until a new owner is found.|
All current Jets players will be offered contracts by the interim owners.

Lee, boss of the Shenzhen-based Ledman Group, bought the club in 2016 but reportedly stopped financing the Jets in October 2019.

FA chief executive James Johnson said the only option left was to terminate Lee’s licence.

Martin Lee has been stripped of the Newcastle Jets’ A-League licence. Picture: Tony Feder/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“The owners had been given every opportunity to rectify the club’s financial situation … or to sell the club to another investor,” Johnson said.

“There were clear failings to adequately capitalise Newcastle Jets FC to meet the minimum requirements set to run an A-League and W-League club, and to operate a company in accordance with Australian law.

“Following the recent announcement of the unbundling of the professional leagues from Football Australia, it’s pleasing to see a group of existing APL club investors stepping in to assume control of Newcastle Jets FC in the interim.

“The Newcastle and Northern NSW region is a heartland of Australian football – an area with a strong participation base combined with a rich history of producing some Australia’s finest footballers, including dozens of Socceroos and Matildas.”

APL commissioner Greg O’Rourke said: “From a competition integrity standpoint, this is an ideal outcome as we continue the 2020-21 seasons.

Newcastle is a vibrant footballing region with a long and proud history in the game and we are delighted that the Newcastle Jets will continue to participate in the APL.”

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