A LOCAL “white knight” has rescued the Hanwood Sports Club from the brink of collapse just days after one of the city’s oldest clubs fell into voluntary administration.
Pittari Transport owner Louis Pittari has purchased the Yarran Street building for an undisclosed sum and will lease it back to the club in a deal finalised on Friday.
The move follows last week’s shock announcement the Catholic Club Yoogali (CCY), one of the city’s most popular wedding venues, had entered into voluntary administration and would close on Monday.
The Hanwood Sports Club has had a high-profile battle with the banks and the tax office, carrying debts of almost $800,000 this time last year.
But the sale of the building to the Pittari family has all but wiped those debts and given the club a fresh chance at survival.
“It would have been a grim situation if Louis hadn’t come in; the bank would have closed us down in the next few months,” Hanwood Sports Club treasurer Chint Quarisa said.
“We are just so grateful to Louis. This means we can turn the corner and enter a new chapter in our history.”
Mr Pittari said the opportunity to support the Hanwood community and ensure the survival of the Hanwood Football Club was “worth the money”.
“The community of Hanwood has been good to me and this is a way we can repay them,” Mr Pittari said.
The club, which had a receiver appointed in November 2011 before an 11th hour rescue by members, has abandoned plans to subdivide a parcel of adjoining land to raise capital.
It has been given a five-year lease by the Pittaris with a further five-year option.
A new board and a series of successful recent events, including a bumper Australia Day crowd, has reignited hopes the club will return to its glory days.
“It’s difficult; the big clubs are getting bigger and the small clubs are struggling,” Mr Quarisa said.
“Not only is patronage dropping off but our fixed costs like electricity, rates, insurance, maintenance and workers compensation are going up.
“The club just needs patronage but we’re confident we have the right board and right energy to get them here now.”
Meanwhile, Yenda Diggers Club appears to be trading its way out of the financial quicksand.
The small club’s $96,000 debt to the Australian Taxation Office has been cut to $36,000 in the past 12 months and president Dave Black was confident things were looking up.
“We’re rolling again to the point we’re making a little bit each week but you can’t take it for granted,” Mr Black said.
“We really need the community to continue to support the club.”
Hanwood Sports Club
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