Perth Glory’s blockchain buyer failed in previous bid to seal share in A-League club

Jim Aylward, left, the founder of 'The London Football exchange', and Tony Sage, Perth Glory chairman. Source: Getty Images

The UK-based cryptocurrency company proposing to snare a majority share of Perth Glory failed in a previous attempt to buy into an A-League club.

With FFA due to embark on due diligence investigations into the bona fides of the London Football Exchange, it has emerged that its founder and owner Jim Aylward was recently unable to get a minority share purchase of another unnamed Australian team over the line.

It’s unknown why the deal did not proceed but for the LFE’s second bite at the cherry to be successful approval would be needed from the FFA board, via recommendation from new CEO James Johnson.

The A-League owners’ body, the APFCA, would also have a say but would be guided by FFA’s posture on the proposal.

LFE has agreed to an 80 percent acquisition of Glory with owner and newly-appointed LFE group chairman, Tony Sage, who has kept FFA updated on developments.

LFE’s ambitious plans to build a seven-strong network of clubs across the globe last year foundered in France, where club chairman Waldemar Kita found the “buyer not credible” in the attempted purchase of Ligue 1 FC Nantes.

The proposed transaction with Glory is being hailed as a world first, with the LFE model selling bitcoin “tokens” to fans who then become part-owners of teams they invest in.

A flamboyantly attired, shades-wearing hipster, Alyward trumpeted the purchase of Glory on the LFE’s twitter account, declaring: “We are building a football group which is going to lead to a tokenized ecosystem.

“This is great news. You’re going to see a lot more stuff about Perth, our relationship with them and our plans moving forward and what the vision is. How Tony’s role as chairman of Perth Glory and LFE works. We can start talking about that now because we’ve got the first club (in the portfolio).”

The LFE’s bid to buy Perth is seen as a test case of their credibility, with FFA to make the final regulatory decision based on their ability to produce cash rather than crypto.

The ruling body said in a statement: “Football Federation Australia (FFA) has received notification of the proposed sale and re-structure of Perth Glory FC.

“The proposed sale is yet to be formally assessed and FFA approval is required in order for any change of ownership of existing A-League/W-League Club to proceed.”

Sage, who had sought to keep negotiations under wraps, remains convinced LFE has the funds to back up its lofty ambitions.

“The money's sitting there in an account they've raised through these tokens – there's 400 million tokens, I think, on issue, trading now,” he told Nine.

LFE claims to have raised $70 million in a digital token offering in 2018, and has plans to own clubs in England, France, Italy, Spain and beyond.

It says talks with an English Premier League club over a possible takeover are also ongoing.