Cryptocurrency and sports investment group London Football Exchange wants to buy Australian A-League football club Perth Glory, with a view to building a larger, global portfolio of clubs, according to Glory owner and chairman Tony Sage.
Sage, who was appointed chairman of LFE’s ‘Football Group project’ last month, told Australian radio outlet 6PR that the company wants to buy seven teams, which he will manage. The first step is to be the 80-per-cent stake in Perth Glory owned by Sage.
LFE is based in London and describes itself as “a financial, technology, media and entertainment group that operates in various spheres derived from the professional sporting arena, mainly association football with multi-sport ambitions”. Its website says it is involved in various projects and activities, including a cryptocurrency token to be used by fans to buy tickets, merchandise and other football-related products; and football club financing.
6PR reported that Sage said: “They want to own seven clubs around the world like the City [Football] Group, but instead of re-badging the clubs they want to let each club maintain it’s own identity…They wanted to get things done quickly and they just said ‘why don’t we start off with an Australian club’ so we’ve been negotiating…
“I’ve made no secret for the last 18 months I’ve been looking for a partner. I can’t compete with the oil sheikhs in Abu Dhabi (City Football Group, which own Melbourne FC), or the Russian oligarch in Sydney (David Traktovenko, owner of Sydney FC) or the Indonesian billionaires in Brisbane (Indonesia-based Bakrie group, owners of Brisbane Roar). I’ve looked for a partner but they want to change things – the name of the club, the colours – and I’ve been reluctant to do it that way.”
In a statement on the Perth Glory website, Sage said: “I am genuinely excited at entering this new role, as this will be a new chapter in my personal development and a great opportunity to be surrounded by energetic, intelligent people with great hearts who love football.
“The fact that we can integrate the Australian game with a development pathway potentially with England, wider Europe, South America and Asia, means that we are also developing the next level in terms of the future of the A-League and W-League itself.”
Jim Aylward, the co-founder of the LFE, said: “PGFC and Tony have been such a huge influence on many careers, by championing Aussie football across age groups and the women’s game, with players such as Sam Kerr of Chelsea fame.
“We are delighted to see Tony’s appointment given that the LFE is a global offering and the football group will be likewise.”