Statement regarding Newcastle Knights comments

Read the club’s response to the comments relating to the use of EnergyAustralia Stadium.

Pursuant to the recent public comments brought forward by the Newcastle Knights Rugby League Club regarding outstanding monies relating to the use of EnergyAustralia Stadium, the Newcastle Jets Football Club wishes to respond with the following statement:

We do not argue that there are monies owed heading into this evening-s match, however, it is critical to note that progressive payments have been made throughout the course of the season and we therefore lament that these public statements have been made on the day of our final home game of the season in a blatant attempt to disparage the Newcastle Jets and football in this city.

For the avoidance of doubt, we advise that we are not permitted to obtain any pourage rights, catering rights or naming rights from the use of the stadium, the monies extracted from these rights go directly to the Newcastle Knights.

To ensure no misinformation has arisen from the public comments made by the Knights, the Newcastle Jets wish to confirm the following key points:

• These issues relating to the stadium are long standing. This is not a matter that has surfaced overnight.

• We have previously sought to have the matter resolved yet the Knights have refused to discuss the matter in round a table manner.

• Financial offers to the Newcastle Knights have been made which would cover catering costs for this evening-s match plus contributing to any arrears, however these offers were rejected. The Newcastle Jets- club Chairman requested to meet with the Knights recently to resolve the matter amicably, and suitably behind closed doors, only to be turned down.

• The Knights have failed to advise that they themselves are in a legal dispute with the State Government which relates to a failure to pay outstanding monies reportedly in excess of the sum of $1 million to the State Government. The amount outstanding to the State Government far exceeds what is claimed against the Newcastle Jets. It is unfortunate that the Knights have seen fit to draw us in a similar position.

• The Knights are also claiming damages as to the state of the stadium and its impact upon their use. We are at a loss as to how this negative impact only applies to the Knights and does not flow on to the Jets. The state of the stadium has negatively impacted upon our patrons this season. We have asked to be advised of what the abatement they are seeking is and have asked that this be filtered down to us, however we have yet to receive a reply.
From our perspective it is a case of ‘do as I say – not do as I do.-

• Moreover, the state of the surface has been rated the worst in the Hyundai A-League. We are constantly having to play on a surface that is sub-standard and that possesses NRL insignia and NRL sponsor logos at the times of our games. We also have lost our Marquee Player, Fabio Vignaroli, for the duration of the season as a direct result of the surface of the Stadium.

• We find it ironic that these public comments have been made by the Knights some years after the very same NRL club sought and received significant financial aid from the Newcastle Jets- club Chairman, Con Constantine, during a time of cash flow difficulties the Knights experienced which enabled them to retain a number of their prime players at the time.

In terms of this evening-s match, our club will take on the subsequent financial and logistical burdens in order to protect the interests of our corporate partners, stakeholders and valued supporters.

The course of action taken by the Knights appears to be a blatant attempt to detrimentally impact upon the Newcastle Jets and football in general. We remain steadfast in our position and our resolve to ensure that football in Newcastle takes pride of place at EnergyAustralia Stadium.