The Northern Territory news Fri 14 Dec 2012
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54 NT NEWS. Friday, December 14, 2012. www.ntnews.com.au P U B : N T N E W S D A T E : 1 4 -D E C -2 0 1 2 P A G E : 5 4 C O L O R : C M Y K 1080127v7 No worry for Knights THE constant headlines over Nathan Tinkler have been damaging but Newcastle Knights chief executive Matt Gidley last night insisted his playing group had not been distracted from their pre-season training campaign. Its important the players arent distracted and, up until know, I know they havent been distracted, Gidley said. I speak to Wayne (Bennett) daily and he is happy with the way things are going, so its full steam ahead. I talk to the players regularly and their feedback is that theyre excited about the season. We have been given assurances that the ATO bill will be tended to. The club is continuing to push ahead toward season 2013. FOOTROT FLATS SPORT l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l ntnews.com.au Jockey Dwayne Dunn riding All Too Hard celebrates his win Picture: GEORGE SALPIGDITIS Patinack Farm also under some scrutiny By RAY THOMAS WhenPatinacks horseswin prizemoney,we pay the race clubs back first RACING NSW is carefully monitoring payments to Patinack Farm staff and the welfare of the stables horses as Nathan Tinklers financial woes put added strain on his sporting empire. There is ongoing concern about Tinklers ability to finance his huge racing and breeding operation. On the racetrack, Patinack is having arguably its most successful start to a racing season but Tinklers financial plight is causing furrowed brows at Racing NSW. Patinack has liquidity problems and Racing NSW is concerned by the participants that this could hurt, Racing NSW chief executive Peter Vlandys said. We have no outstanding complaints from anyone against Patinack and any that we did have, Racing NSW has assisted. Racing NSW has also introduced a payment system to ensure NSW race clubs are not left out of pocket from Patinacks mounting debt. We offset their payments against prizemoney won by Patinack, Vlandys explained. There remains some outstanding payments to NSW race clubs but we are managing those and when Patinacks horses win prizemoney, we pay the race clubs back first. When asked if Racing NSW also had any concerns about the welfare of Patinacks racing and breeding stock, Vlandys revealed stewards are being deployed to Tinklers racing stables and breeding farms to check on the condition of his thoroughbreds. Im pleased to say that at this point in time all the horses are in excellent condition and being well maintained, he said. Tinkler revealed last month that if someone offered him the right price for his thoroughbred empire, he would consider selling it all. Patinack has been downsizing their racing and breeding interests from over 1700 thoroughbreds to around 900 horses in recent weeks. But Tinkler maintains he always pays his debts. I never run from anybody, everyone always gets paid, he said. I would say the noisy few have made a lot of people nervous and there is no need to be. Patinack at least has had plenty to celebrate on the racetrack this season. Since August 1, Tinklers private trainer, John Thompson has prepared 49 winners of $2.4 million prizemoney. The brilliant Nechita has been Thompsons stable flagbearer with wins in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes and Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes this season. Tinkler also owns super colt All Too Hard, a memorable winner of the Caulfield Guineas and runner-up to Ocean Park in the Cox Plate. All Too Hard, a halfbrother to world champion sprinter Black Caviar, is estimated to be worth at least $20 million as a potential sire. FFA needs Jets flying By TOM SMITHIES NERVOUS A-League chiefs could not allow Newcastle Jets to go under, as the new TV deal with Fox Sports and SBS contains a requirement that the league contains at least 10 teams. As the tax office yesterday applied to the Federal Court to have Nathan Tinklers Hunter Sports Group wound up over unpaid bills, including one of $1.063 million relating to the Jets, the new clause was a condition of the broad casting deal struck by Ben Buckley before he left his role as Football Federation CEO last month. HSG was adamant yesterday that the combined $2.7m bill will be paid before the February 22 court date, and FFA put out a brief statement saying that FFA has been given assurances by Hunter Sports Group, owner and operator of Newcastle Jets, that the clubs operations will not be affected. Through all of the reports in recent months about Tink lers financial travails, FFA officials have maintained that as long as the Jets operational bills continue to be paid then they have to accept the HSG assurances. With no other realistic homes for a club, it means FFA would have to step in if the ATO were to live up to its threat to wind both sporting clubs up, and ensure the Jets were kept alive. The previous TV deal, struck in 2006, had no such minimum stipulation, but FFA knows the Jets are a re quirement for when the new one comes into effect on July 1 next year. A consortium of businessmen was sounded out earlier in the year when Tinkler handed back the Jets licence in a dispute over the terms of the acquisition fee he paid to take the club over from Con Constantine in 2010. But complicating any attempt to discreetly line up putative new investors in the Jets is that prominent Hunter businessman Andrew Poole, seen as a possible leader of a fresh consortium, has been called as a witness in the ICAC inquiry into the granting of coal licences by the last Labor government. FFA has taken on the running of clubs including Adelaide and Brisbane when they had ownership problems but it now fully funds Western Sydney Wanderers, meaning its resources would be hugely stretched by any need to step in for the Jets. Jets officials could not be reached for comment beyond the clubs official statement. Threat to clubs as empire crumbles FromBackPage Under the terms of his privatisation of the Knights last year, Tinkler was forced to fund a $20 million guarantee with Westpac to be used by the club if he failed to meet his obligations. Among the obligations was that he provide $10 million in sponsorship and enough working capital to ensure financial stability. If Tinkler and his Hunter Sports Group fail in their commitment, the Members Club board have the capacity to buy back control of the club for $1, and lay claim to the $20 million. It would then be a club once again wholly owned by its members, but this time significantly cashed up. The Knights are completely protected with this $20 million bank guarantee. If Hunter Sports Group fell over, the Knights would fall back to the members and they would be in a better financial position than most clubs, a club source said. The threat to the Newcastle Jets remains a little more complex. There is no bank guarantee for the Jets, only the verbal and financial commitment that the FFA has to the Hunter region. But what does give the FFA some relief is that the Jets operations and player salaries have been paid without fault, to date. Last night, FFA chief executive David Gallop called a crisis meeting with his executive and A-League directors to determine its course of action. Since plummeting coal prices decimated his wealth, Tinkler has been sitting precariously on the cusp of personal bankruptcy. His 19.4 per cent stake in Whitehaven Coal worth more than $1.1 billion in May now sits at $699 million, falling short of his reported debt of more than $700 million. Tinklers personal jet and helicopter have been repossessed and his luxury suite at ANZ Stadium handed back. Hunter Sports Group is also being sued by the NSW Government over $600,000 in unpaid stadium rent, while a reportedly $500,000 weekly bill at his Patinack Farm racing operations has meant staff and contractors have routinely missed out on pay and entitlements.
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