• Brisbane Roar fans are still searching for some good cheer (AAP)Source: AAP
Brisbane Roar chairman Chris Fong claims the club's owner, the Bakrie Group, is close to finalising the sale of the franchise amid conjecture it might be forced into a U-turn and remain at the helm of the embattled outfit.
By
David Lewis / AAP

27 Aug 2015 - 11:04 AM  UPDATED 27 Aug 2015 - 9:44 PM

The Indonesian conglomerate is not prepared to hand back the licence to Football Federation Australia (FFA) under any circumstances and forfeit its investment in a club it values at well in excess of $10 million.

But Fong, who has been in Europe talking with potential investors, remains convinced the Bakrie Group will be successful in its protected efforts to secure a buyer and is now on the brink ending its four-year reign.

“The sale of the club is proceeding and we are confident that it will be closed,” said Fong, who is also a senior vice president of the Bakrie Group.

In response to this news FFA made it clear that the Bakrie Group's ownership was in the balance. 

"It is timely that the meeting is taking place tomorrow because the Bakrie Group's ownership of the Brisbane Roar is now in the balance," FFA said in a statement. 

"The choice is very clear. If the Bakrie Group wants to stay in the A-League, the debts need to be addressed immediately, wages need to be addressed immediately, wages need to be paid to staff and stability restored."

Having announced, prematurely as it turned out, back in July that a price had been agreed with a new purchaser and a deal was all but done, Fong has been working feverishly since to seal a sale to overseas and local investors.

He said he had been in constant touch with FFA over the progress of the sale, and saw no impediment to it being concluded.

“The delay is out of our hands but the buyer is keeping us and the FFA up to-date with their progress,” Fong said.

“The hold up is not ideal as we wanted it closed in June to ensure a speedy resolution.”

FFA did not rule out taking over the club if a deal to sell the club was not concluded. 

"Brisbane Roar is a great club and its licence is a highly valuable asset. We are confident that, if necessary, we can stabilise the club, find a new investor and create a bright future for the club.

"But the current uncertainty is damaging the club and we are no longer in a position to tolerate the situation."

The Bakrie Group, which claims to have injected $9 million into Roar, is determined to avoid following in the footsteps of former Newcastle Jets owner Nathan Tinkler, who was relieved of his licence in May by FFA as the club soaked in a sea of red ink.

Tinkler was unable to conclude a $3.5 million sale to Dundee United owner Stephen Thompson after entering voluntary administration. FFA now looks set to on-sell the club to Thompson's consortium for up to $4 million.

The Bakrie's Group is reportedly $9 billion in debt, and its valuation of Roar is likely to outstrip a final sale price which is anticipated to be around the $8 million mark.

Bakrie representatives reportedly arrived in Brisbane on Wednesday – though Fong was not among them - to meet with Roar officials and assess the scale of the financial issues haunting the club.

Players were paid late for the second time in three months on Monday and other staff are still awaiting missing wages.

There are a number of creditors circling the club with debts believed to be in excess of $1.5 million, and FFA has been urged to seriously consider stepping in and assuming control by Professional Footballers Australia amid ongoing uncertainty over the viability of the club under the Bakries.

However, recent payment of a $60,000 debt to Queensland Rugby Union over the hiring of Ballymore Stadium as its former training base and the continuing payment of salaries, albeit late, are strategic moves by the Bakries to dissuade FFA from stepping in over any beaches of the terms and conditions of its participation agreement.