14 Dec 2012

NRL, FFA say Newcastle's Jets and Knights will survive

6:08 am on 14 December 2012

The National Rugby League and Football Federation Australia have moved to allay fears over the future of the Newcastle Knights and their A-League siblings the Newcastle Jets.

The two clubs and their parent company Hunter Sports Group have debts of around $3.1 million and the Australian Tax Office has applied for both teams to be wound up due to the unpaid debts.

However both the NRL and FFA say they are confident the future of each club under their respective authority is not in jeopardy - though the NRL has moved to ensure that HSG uses the next NRL club grant payment of ($728,000 due later this month is used to ensure that all player superannuation payments are current before being put to any other use.

Interim NRL chief executive Shane Mattiske says guarantees were put in place when Nathan Tinkler took ownership of the Knights in 2011 that will ensure the club remains viable, while the FFA says it has been given assurances by Hunter Sports Group that the Jets' operations will not be affected.

A bank guarantee of almost $25 million was a condition of Tinkler's privatisation of the Knights and the granting of their NRL licence. But it is understood the Jets are not covered by a similar safety net.

The development is a concern for both governing bodies given Gold Coast United's demise last season and the Gold Coast Titans financial struggles. The Titans' troubles resulted in a complete overhaul of the club's administration before they were granted a new NRL licence last month.

Tinkler has reportedly failed to make player payments to the Knights on time. Jets players say the same has not happened to them.