Cuddy says he’s ready to re­lin­quish control

Western Mail - - SPORT - ROB LLOYD Rugby cor­re­spon­dent [email protected]­

NEATH owner Mike Cuddy has re­vealed he is ready to re­lin­quish control of the cri­sis-hit club.

There is con­tin­ued un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing the fu­ture of one of Welsh rugby’s most fa­mous clubs fol­low­ing the de­ci­sion at Cardiff Jus­tice Courts on Thurs­day to dis­miss a wind­ing-up or­der.

That rul­ing means Mr Cuddy cur­rently re­mains in charge of Neath Rugby Lim­ited, but in a new twist, he has to­day re­vealed he is ready to hand the club over to new in­vestors.

In a state­ment is­sued to WalesOn­line, Mr Cuddy says is con­sid­er­ing three op­tions – stay­ing at the helm (which he prefers not to do be­cause of ill-health), pass­ing on the club to the sup­port­ers, or sell­ing to po­ten­tial new owners, who he has al­ready spo­ken to.

He also takes a swipe at the per­sonal abuse he has re­ceived on so­cial me­dia.

He said: “Fol­low­ing yesterday’s court case, in which as I ex­pected, the claim against the club from Jar­dine Nor­ton was dis­missed, with costs awarded, it is now time to con­sider how to best take things for­ward at Neath Rugby.

“We now ex­pect the club’s bank ac­counts to be un­frozen, which will at least al­low the club to start func­tion­ing again. We have a num­ber of po­ten­tial op­tions, each of which I am ex­plor­ing.

“One op­tion is to con­tinue to run the club in its cur­rent form. Un­for­tu­nately, with my poor health this is def­i­nitely not my pre­ferred route at this time.

“A sec­ond op­tion is to pass re­spon­si­bil­ity for the club over to a sup­port­ers group which has ex­pressed in­ter­est in tak­ing it over.

“I un­der­stand the group is led by two for­mer Bor­ough Coun­cil Man­agers, who claim have gen­er­ated sig­nif­i­cant lo­cal sup­port for their plan to “take the club back to the com­mu­nity”.

“I am now keen to meet with this group to un­der­stand the de­tail of their plan, most par­tic­u­larly how they in­tend to gen­er­ate the nec­es­sary on­go­ing fi­nan­cial sup­port which is nec­es­sary for the club to sur­vive.

“Whilst they are cer­tainly en­thu­si­as­tic and vo­cal, I do not have suf­fi­cient un­der­stand­ing of what they are propos­ing to be able to de­cide if this is a vi­able op­tion for the cub.

“Thirdly, I am in dis­cus­sion with a num­ber of par­ties who have ex­pressed in­ter­est in ac­quir­ing Neath Rugby Lim­ited.

“It is clear to me that these par­ties are fi­nan­cially able to sup­port the club and my hope is that they have not been de­terred by some of the on-line abuse that has been aimed at my­self over the past month.

“You cer­tainly have to have a thick skin in or­der to “in­vest” in any rugby or foot­ball club and it’s un­for­tu­nate that in com­mon with most clubs, Neath has a mi­nor­ity of ex­tremely vo­cal sup­port­ers who have for­got­ten the good times we have had now things have be­come more dif­fi­cult.

“As al­ways, the best in­ter­ests of Neath Rugby and its fu­ture health will be at the heart of my as­sess­ment of the op­tions fac­ing the club, to­gether with my de­sire to a avoid fur­ther lit­i­ga­tion against the club.

“I do, how­ever, need the con­tin­ued pas­sion­ate sup­port from vol­un­teers and sup­port­ers to help see us through this dif­fi­cult pe­riod in our his­tory.”

Neath were set to take on Llanelli in a Prin­ci­pal­ity Premier­ship match at The Gnoll last night

A num­ber of play­ers left last month be­cause of non-pay­ment of wages.

The dire sit­u­a­tion at Neath has stemmed from the demise of Mr Cuddy’s con­struc­tion busi­ness, The Cuddy Group, which folded ear­lier this year.

A wind­ing-up or­der was is­sued against the club, which sup­port­ers had hoped would be up­held.

They said they were hop­ing that new in­vestors would come on board and re­build the club as a new en­tity.

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