Brisbane Roar set for new owners as Bakrie Group confirms sale

Brisbane Roar players in a huddle before the home meeting with Central Coast Mariners in April. (Getty) Source: Getty Images

EXCLUSIVE: Brisbane Roar owner The Bakrie Group has announced that its four-season tenure of the three-time A-League champion is over and that a new buyer will take control later this month.

The Indonesian-based conglomerate has been in secret talks with a locally-based “third party” as former chairman Chris Fong admitted on Thursday he was “gutted” that it has “come to this".

Fong also moved to ease the concerns of creditors, insisting that under the new ownership structure they would all be paid and “stability restored”.

Having stepped down in May as the club was struck by a financial crisis which coincided with the sudden resignation of managing director Sean Dobson, Fong has been liaising closely with Football Federation Australia over the Roar's future while discussions with the yet-to-be-unveiled new owner have been ongoing.

Speaking from Indonesia, Fong told The World Game: “Mr (Nirwan) Bakrie has agreed to sell Brisbane Roar in an agreement that will see creditors paid and stability restored.

“A price has been agreed with a third party and we expect this process to be completed this month. I can't say anything about the sale, as it is all very tied up in confidentially agreements.

"We have been working very closely with the FFA whom has been very understanding.

"Over $9 million has been injected into Brisbane Roar over the past four seasons, and it is more than disappointing it has come to this. I am absolutely gutted."

Buffeted by both internal and external financial pressures, the Roar was two weeks late paying players and staff last month and Fong has raised questions over the management practices of the departed Dobson, who quit in the immediate aftermath of the Bakries announcing an internal financial review in May.

With the Bakries also struggling with a reported $9 billion worth of debt and divesting itself of other footballing interests elsewhere across the globe, the writing has been on the wall for the Roar.

“What has been uncovered over the past weeks is devastating,” Fong said. “The Managing Director suddenly resigns days after we announce an independent due diligence of the club's financial and operations."

Hinting at the possibility of some form of legal redress, Fong, who as chairman spent more time outside than inside Australia, added: “It is clear we cannot manage from a distance ... we tried, gave trust and the
result is unacceptable. 

"It is a very sad time for us, the staff, fans and football in Australia ... but this will pass. The football department finally seems to have leadership (under interim CEO David Pourre, new coach John Aloisi and newly-appointed football operations manager Craig Moore), so we expect performance on the pitch will be restored. “

An internal audit review instigated by the Bakries and overseen by Pourre - the contents of which were leaked to The World Game - claims to have uncovered $3.5 million in liabilities which can attributed to "systemic disregard for procedures and approval processes".

The club had a projected a loss of $1.5 million last season, taking into account AFC Champions League participation and AFC Asian Cup match scheduling, before the final figure was revealed.

Source: SBS