Source: The Age | League HQ
By Brad Walter
Russell Crowe has no immediate plans to sell his stake in the South Sydney Rabbitohs. The Hollywood actor and co-owner Peter Holmes a Court have indicated that if they ever do sell their 75 per cent stake in the Rabbitohs it will be to South Sydney members.
Rabbitohs chairman Nicholas Pappas gave an insight into Crowe’s intentions when he told Sunday’s annual general meeting of the South Sydney Football Club that Crowe would not be selling his shareholding in the “short-to-medium term” and at this stage has no intention of selling at all.
Pappas was responding to a question from the floor about Crowe’s intentions after he announced last November that he wanted to sell his 37.5 per cent stake by the end of the upcoming season.
Holmes a Court has already announced he will retain his shareholding.
“I was asked a question firstly about Peter’s intentions and I said that Peter had indicated already that he was in for the long haul or some considerable time yet,” Pappas told Fairfax Media.
“That led to a question about Russell, and I indicated what Russell had indicated to me, and that was that at least for the short-to-the-medium term he is going to be with us.
“Ultimately it is his call of course but there is no indication that anything is going to happen in the short to medium term so it is on with the season.”
The news is a massive boost for Souths ahead of Thursday night’s NRL season opener against arch rivals Sydney Roosters, as it removes any possible distraction about Crowe’s involvement this season.
Crowe is expected to attend the match, which is expected to be played before a near capacity crowd at Allianz Stadium.
He and Holmes a Court had already indicated that if they were ever to sell their shareholding it would be a “fair trade” deal with the club’s members, rather than an outside investor.
The pair purchased their 75 per cent stake in 2006 for $3 million, and have contributed $11 million in total – including a $6 million loan for which repayments are due to begin on October 31, 2015.
The football club – through a company known as Member Co. – holds the remaining 25 per cent stake and a “golden share”, preventing any owner from changing the club’s name, colours, logo or moving Souths from Sydney.
At the time Crowe announced his intention to sell his share in the Rabbitohs, he indicated he was doing so in a bid to help save his marriage with singer and actor Danielle Spencer.
However, that appears to have failed after recent reports that Spencer is getting on with her own life and has been in talks with producers about a return to acting.
Meanwhile, former Rabbitohs prop Scott Geddes, who retired at the end of last season, South Sydney historian Brad Ryder and politician Anthony Albanese, who was heavily involved in the club’s fight for survival, were awarded life membership at Sunday’s AGM.