Perth Glory owner Tony Sage has decided against selling the A-League club to controversial bitcoin company London Football Exchange.
Sage had planned to sell 80 per cent of the club to LFE but he advised Football Federation Australia on Monday night that the deal would not proceed.
The news will come as a huge relief to Glory fans who had expressed fears about LFE and the group’s business model.
LFE is reportedly being sued in London and New York over various business matters.
The company has big dreams to buy eight or nine soccer clubs all around the world so they can create an “ecosystem” of assets that fans can access with bitcoins.
LFE’s founder Jim Aylward conducted one disastrous interview after another in his attempts to promote the group’s first club acquisition.
On each occasion he refused to detail what means LFE would use to buy the Glory – or any other club for that matter.
But he promised big things, including a deal with an English Premier League club.
Perth released a statement earlier this month confirming they had entered into an “asset sale and purchase agreement” with LFE.
The only obstacle at that point seemed to be Football Federation Australia, which needed to approve the deal.
But as questions began to swell over LFE and its dubious past, Sage seemingly backtracked and insisted that no deal had been agreed upon.
Instead, he flew to London to meet with Ayles to conduct his “due diligence”.
Confusing matters further was the fact that Sage had been appointed chairman of LFE in January.
Sage’s term as chairman was expected to start in March – about the time when the sale of Perth would go through.
It now seems unlikely that Sage will stay on as chairman of LFE given the spectacular collapse in negotiations.
FFA confirmed on Tuesday morning that the sale of the Glory to LFE would not go ahead.
“On Thursday 13 February, Tony advised FFA that he had received unsolicited interest from a potential buyer being the London Football Exchange and would be travelling to London to work with his lawyers to organise a due diligence process,” the FFA said in a statement.
“At no time did Tony Sage request FFA to review any application for sale.
“Last night, Tony officially advised the FFA head of leagues Greg O’Rourke that following a due diligence process, the transaction will not be pursued.”