Athena res­cue

Guardian Express - - FRONT PAGE - Jon Bas­sett

THE in­terim chair­man of the Floreat Athena Foot­ball Club says the club ap­pears to have avoided im­me­di­ate fi­nan­cial col­lapse af­ter do­na­tions re­duced a $213,000 debt to less than $90,000 in an ap­peal that started last month.

“The only real risk was of all those peo­ple calling their debts in,” in­terim chair­man Paul Kot­soglo said.

A Novem­ber 24 let­ter to sup­port­ers and mem­bers claimed the club had only un­til this Tues­day to sur­vive, oth­er­wise re­ceivers would be called in.

It said a re­view of the 1951-es­tab­lished Leed­erville club’s fi­nances were “shock­ing” and its sur­vival was at stake.

The let­ter said Can­berra bu­reau­crats de­manded “good gov­er­nance and strong plans” to claim a re­cently an­nounced $3 mil­lion Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment grant, which fol­lowed lob­by­ing by club mem­ber and WA One Na­tion Sen­a­tor Peter Ge­or­giou.

It did not de­tail the fi­nan­cial prob­lems, but did fol­low a to­tal change of the board’s mem­ber­ship at the club’s Oc­to­ber an­nual gen­eral meet­ing and asked for con­tri­bu­tions from a “siz­able do­na­tion” or “$10 or $20” to­wards the emer­gency fundraiser.

A later let­ter said write­downs, write-offs, spon­sor­ships and re­ar­ranged pay­ments had also helped re­duce the debt.

Mr Kot­soglo was not a mem­ber of the club un­til the meet­ing and pre­vi­ously chaired the board of the St An­drew’s Gram­mar School in Dianella.

He said the club’s debt was the re­sult of op­er­a­tional costs, in­clud­ing fees to Foot­ball West, rub­bish col­lec­tion, the bar and power bills. He was not qual­i­fied to com­ment if the club had been mis­man­aged by its pre­vi­ous lead­er­ship.

A re­view of its ac­counts was be­ing con­ducted and the club would work with Can­berra de­part­ments so all re­quire­ments were met in the sub­mis­sion for the grant.

Mr Kot­soglo said it was planned the club would have a draft new lease for Li­tis Sta­dium ready for the City of Vin­cent in the first three months of 2019.

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