Indonesia's Bakrie Group
have snapped up the remaining stake in Brisbane Roar to wholly
own the Australian domestic champions in a landmark investment
hailed by the country's football administrators.
The group, controlled by the family of Indonesia's Golkar
Party Chairman Aburizal Bakrie, took a 70 percent stake in
Brisbane last October and have bought the remaining 30 percent
from league administrators Football Federation Australia (FFA).
The Bakrie Group's investment makes them the first Asian
owners of an Australian league club, a move welcomed by the FFA,
which has had to bail out a number of cash-strapped clubs in the
country's financially-vulnerable A-League in recent years.
"We have 1.7 million people playing soccer in Australia, but
the A-League is only in its seventh season... obviously the
Australian game has massive potential but we need capital," FFA
corporate affairs director Kyle Patterson told Reuters on
"The Bakrie Group has invested in this potential and it's a
terrific thing for the game here.
"It creates a template going forward."
Brisbane had been under league management for seven months
prior to the Bakrie Group taking their initial stake.
The previous private owners handed their license back to the
FFA within days of the team winning their first premiership in
the league's sixth season, having racked up millions of dollars
The Bakrie Group holds a number of football-related interests
across the globe through their sporting arm Pelita Jaya Cronus,
including stakes in an Indonesian Super League club and a
Belgian second-division side.
The club, chaired by Dali Tahir, a former Asian football powerbroker, would appoint new foreign and international
directors, and the FFA would not retain a presence on the board,
Aga Bakrie said in a statement: "The Bakrie Group sees huge
potential in the... A-League as one of Asia's top professional
club competitions and naturally we want the Brisbane Roar to be
in the forefront of this development.
"Our aim is to develop the Roar into Australia's biggest
club and carry that success across Asia."
Australia's A-League took over from the defunct National
Soccer League, which collapsed under a mountain of debts in
Despite growing local participation in the game, the 10-team
league has struggled to maintain a foothold in the country's
crowded sports market where indigenous football code Australian
Rules and rugby league attract the lion's share of broadcast
dollars and top athletes.
After a bright start in its first few seasons, the FFA has
had to find new owners for a number of debt-ridden A-League
clubs in recent years and has put expansion plans on hold.
However, league administrators have been buoyed by a lift in
crowds in the current season as they prepare to kick off
negotiations for a new rights deal, with the current agreement
with pay-TV provider Foxtel to expire in 2013.
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