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Opinion

What does Adelaide United's new ownership mean for the club - and for the A-League?

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Roar Guru
11th April, 2022
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4659 Reads

After several months of negotiations, which included beating consortiums in Europe and the far east, the Pelligra Group are now in control of Adelaide United.

I had broken this story several months ago and provided details along the way for readers of The Roar, but it has finally been confirmed with local media reporting last night, that the ownership change will happen at season end.

The outgoing ownership group, helmed by Piet Van Der Pol – had a shadowy reputation and links to Chinese sporting organisations as well as the Chinese government that the public weren’t aware of

The group itself were wanting over $20 million dollars to sell the license and it may surprise a lot of people at the size of the fee that was agreed to by the Pelligra group.

While Perth Glory, Central Coast Mariners & Newcastle Jets are still all on the market, many people living in the eastern states might be shocked with Adelaide being the first club to change owners,

For anyone not familiar with Adelaide United, this is a great piece of business for the FA as well as the Pelligra Group.

Adelaide United are the best financially run club, outside of the traditional big four (Sydney FC, Melbourne Victory, Melbourne City & Western Sydney Wanderers)

They have one of the best stadium deals in the league and speaking of the stadium, construction is well under way with a 50-million-dollar renovation. They regularly play finals football.

Once you factor in the generational young talent coming through the state – owning Adelaide United is an exciting proposition.

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While some fans of Adelaide will be upset at being owned by a corporation in Victoria, the Pelligra group have been making acquisitions in Adelaide for the past few years.

In 2017 the group paid $55m for Elizabeth’s former General Motors Holden plant – now an industrial park.

The Pelligra group bought a CBD office complex for $25.5 million and will spend over $30 million refurbishing it – They also own another city office complex, & renovated a separate one recently

A $50 million dollar investment in a golf course, resort and residential community construction started in 2020 on the picturesque Kangaroo Island & they also paid $30 million dollars for an old hospital.

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Adelaide Arena which was the home for years of the states NBL club; the 36ers was purchased for $4 million dollars with a further $20 million dollars going into its redevelopment

The Adelaide Giants baseball team was bought for several million dollars and will have a new stadium built in the tune of $40 million dollars – Ross Pelligra even bought a seaside home in Henley Beach for $3 million recently.

While these figures are eye watering, The Pelligra Group’s purchase of Adelaide United; does not mean the club will be taking a seat at the leagues rich table next season.

The club will still be run under a tight budget with an emphasis on producing local South Australian talent and finding overseas bargains and interstate a league player wanting a second chance. However, the wheels are already in motion for the playing group and staff within the club.

Hindmarsh Stadium

(Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

Star players Stefan Mauk & Ben O’Halloran were sold in January, with several more departures scheduled for the off season – including talented youth Kusini Yengi & Mohammed Toure while the likes of Joe Gauci, Yaya Dukuly & Bernado have had offers from rival a league as well as European teams.

Assistant coach Ross Aloisi and the director of football have left recently with the head of sports science and several other administrative positions soon to be vacated.

The club have agreed a deal to sign Hiroshi Ibusuki and are very close to permanently signing loanees Craig Goodwin & Lachlan Brook.

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The biggest issue that the new owners will need to address is the fans, in particular how dysfunctional one of the competitions most partisan supporter groups, the Red Army, has become.

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However, in a season where instability has been the norm, having one of the competitions most consistent clubs become even more stable under the financial clout of the Pelligra Group – will have other clubs looking on in envy

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