Football Federation Australia expects a new Newcastle Jets owner to be announced “very soon”, with a western Sydney-based group of investors believed to be close to taking charge of the ailing club, pending final due diligence clearance.
It’s believed the Jets - $3 million in debt from the four-year reign of Chinese multi-millionaire Martin Lee - could change hands for around $8 million.
The western Sydney group has filled the void left when previous license favourite Sky Jade Capital pulled out.
They have sought to remain low-key and away from the spotlight but are believed to be comprised of a number of investors who recently sent a delegation to the Hunter to meet officials and players to outline their vision for the Jets’ future.
They plan to build a new training base for the club and with Carl Robinson having departed for Western Sydney Wanderers could be looking at Arthur Papas, number two to Ange Postecoglou at Yokohama F. Marinos, as head coach.
Chinese-linked Sky Jade withdrew their interest after media reports revealed their identity.
Sydney Kings’ cashed-up owner Paul Smith has also been linked with the club, but this week denied any interest.
Whilst declining to confirm the identity of the bidder, FFA chief executive James Johnson expressed confidence in a swift resolution to the ongoing saga surrounding the club’s future.
“FFA and APCFA (the A-League clubs’ representative body) are in discussions with prospective buyers which also involves a thorough due diligence process,” Johnson told SBS The World Game.
“We’re working towards finding a viable solution that’s right for the club, the region of Northern NSW, its players and supporters, and the overall football community in Australia.
“We are confident that we can accomplish this in good time, but it’s equally important to make the right decision and follow a strong process.”
Johnson believes new owners will recalibrate a club that has fallen on hard times since reaching the A-League grand final two years back.
“A change of ownership is needed to revitalise the Jets and put them on a sound footing again and continue their important role in the NNSW community,” he added.
“We are hoping to have a new owner very soon.
“The end objective is to bring stability and future sustainability to the Jets who are a very important part of the A-League competition with a proud history and a tremendous fan base.”
The Jets have been starved of funds since Shenzhen-based Lee pulled the pin on finances a year ago.
And whilst players and staff have been paid since, debts have been mounting and will be factored into the eventual sale price.