FMF can exclusively reveal that the Penrith Panthers Rugby League club is rumoured to be inquiring about ownership of Western Sydney Wanderers Football Club.
This is not the first time the Panthers organisation has expressed an interest in owning the Wanderers, and this latest rumour has been met with anger from the Wanderers’ loyal fan base the Red and Black Bloc.
This development is believed to be driven by the Wanderers’ need for a new stadium during the 2016/17 A-League season whilst Pirtek Stadium is being re-built, with Panthers reportedly positioning themselves as a new permanent home for the western Sydney powerhouse.
“There have been a few meetings of the board at Penrith, more so than usual, where agenda items regarding the strategy for the acquisition of the Western Sydney Wanderers has been the focus,” our source told FMF. The Panthers organisation did not want to comment when contacted by FMF earlier today.
It has rumoured FFA has not been satisfied with the return of investment from their first sale of the Wanderers, so there is an underlying motive to recoup losses by assisting with a second sale in return for financial incentives. In a bizarre theory put forward on a football forum, it’s believed there is also government pressure being applied by new prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, who is seeking to recover the money first provided to western Sydney football by former prime minister Julia Gillard.
FMF contacted Wanderers CEO John Tsatsimas for comment. “I’d like to assure the fans of this great club that we are focusing on the 2015/16 season starting this Thursday night. Plans regarding moving stadiums permanently have not been discussed internally and we are focusing on the redevelopment of Pirtek. I have no further comment other than for the fans to be rest assured that this club will always reflect the wants and needs of the collective fan-base”.
FMF has been in contact with key stakeholders of ANZ Stadium, who in the past have expressed a desire to hold certain “curtain-raiser” matches, and they too have expressed a desire to host the Wanderers during the 2016/17 season. But discussions regarding a possible stadium move has not been fruitful with the board of ANZ Stadium as they feel they are losing an uphill battle.