Consortium says there‘s a verbal agreement to buy NZ Warriors

The consortium wanting to buy the New Zealand Warriors says it has reached a verbal agreement but is awaiting a final decision from the team‘s owner, Eric Watson.

Mr Fale said that disagreements over the structure of the sale of the rugby league club have been ironed out. Photo: Photosport NZ

The head of the Hawaii-based consortium, Richard Fale, said on Sunday that disagreements over the structure of the sale of the rugby league club had been ironed out and the paperwork was being finalised before being sent to New Zealand.

“We have worked through any differences and have come to a mutual agreement.

“Now we have hashed that out over the phone and we are in agreement not only on price but the structure of the sale, attorneys are going to put it all in black and white,” he said.

Mr Fale is confident the deal will go ahead but nothing had yet been signed and sealed.

He said the papers should be ready in the next couple of days.

“It‘s absolutely imperative that we succeed in this endeavour and we can‘t leave any room for error.”

Mr Fale would not confirm the sale price but said reports of it being about $24 million are in the ball-park.

Mr Fale said if the deal does go through he expected there to be little or no distraction for the team.

“We are extremely impressed with the level of professionalism the players have demonstrated.”

Mr Fale said the consortium included people from New Zealand, Pacific Islands and the United States.

“Most of them are professional athletes.”

He said none of them were playing in the NRL.

Mr Fale said winning the premiership will be the central focus of the organisation.

“Our philosophy is that you fully empower your decision makers to do their jobs which in this case is the CEO and the head coach.

“We see ourselves as empowering and doing everything we can to support the head coach and CEO in doing their jobs and that they have all the necessary resources so they can carry out the vision and the mission as they see it,” he said.

Mr Fale said the consortium would definitely bring a very different perspective to team ownership and “those are just from lessons we have learned from major league baseball, the NBA and the NFL”.

He dismissed reports of an alternate bid from Auckland Rugby League being successful.

Mr Fale said they should use their resources to support the amateur game and leave the professional game to others.

He said the final decision on the club sale rested entirely with its current owner Eric Watson.

“He could sell the club for a dollar to whoever he wants or he could sell to us with the biggest offer on the table.

“We don‘t pretend to know what is in his mind.”

Mr Fale said the consortium had a verbal agreement with Mr Watson which will now be put on paper.

“We are operating under the circumstances that we are aware of.”

The consortium is made up of a core group of 12 investors which probably will grow.

Mr Fale said getting the money together will not be a problem.