BLAZE DREAMS END IN ASHES

Written on the 18 July 2012

BLAZE DREAMS END IN ASHES

HOPES the financially-stricken Gold Coast Blaze basketball team could be saved have been extinguished.

The team’s owners, Gold Coast-based Owen (pictured) and Katie Tomlinson, have admitted they cannot meet a $1 million guarantee demanded by Basketball Australia (BA) to include the Blaze in the 2012-13 national competition.

The five-year-old Blaze organisation went into voluntary administration last month with debts revealed to be about $12 million.

Administrator W Roland Robson, from Aggs Robson, terminated contracts of the playing roster and executive staff in late June. A Deed of Company Arrangement was formulated with unsecured creditors receiving just 7 cents for every dollar owed.

The Tomlinsons had floated a plan to reinvent the Blaze and participate in the next BA season under a budget community-based model. They claimed to have secured $500,000 capital investment from a supporter whose name was not made public.

But BA insisted a $1 million guarantee be posted amid concerns the Blaze may not survive the entire next season.

CEO Scott Derwin says the BA board supported the Blaze’s community ownership model “in principal’’, but insisted on a guarantee being posted by the club to maintain the integrity of the national competition.

“We make no apologies for insisting on tangible and detailed confirmation of funding streams or for holding the Blaze accountable to the same financial scrutiny applied to all of our NBL clubs,” Derwin says in a statement today.

“The Blaze had advised they had a $500,000 capital investment from a mystery supporter – but were unable to provide any further detail on the funding source or stream.

“There were also projected revenue lines from sponsors and other sources of over $1 million that could not be verified at this time and for which we requested further evidence by 31 July.

“Ultimately, a mystery funding source won’t cut it. Given the club’s recent financial uncertainty, it is not unreasonable to expect solid and detailed financial modelling.”

The Tomlinsons could not be reached for comment. Aggs Robson didn’t respond to a request for comment.


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