Glenn seeks to shift 50% Warriors stake to charitable trust, end 'disharmony' with Watson'
Sir Owen Glenn is proposing to transfer his $6 million half share of the Vodafone Warriors rugby league franchise to a charitable trust “for the benefit of the rugby league community and in particular the development of rugby league at a ‘grass roots’ level."
The Monaco-based multi-millionaire has been at loggerheads with Warriors co-owner Eric Watson over their joint-ownership the team since early last year and had taken legal action in an effort to recover his $6 million investment.
In a statement issued today, Sir Owen said he’d decided to cease his legal action and transfer his share to a newly formed charitable trust instead.
“As a result of my involvement with the club I am now convinced this iconic New Zealand brand should belong to the New Zealand public and Vodafone Warriors club members,” he said.
Bill Birnie, a representative for Sir Owen, is expected to work with Warriors CEO Jim Doyle to bring the proposal into effect.
It’s intended the trust will be administered by trustees – made up of people who are “prominent within business and sporting sectors” – acting on behalf of the members, league community and other stakeholders.
Sir Owen said he hoped the initiative would promote greater loyalty from the Warriors club membership by giving them a voice in the organisation’s direction, as well as motivate supporters to become members.
"As a long-time supporter of the Warriors I have huge affection and respect for the club's wonderful fan base,” Sir Owen said, “and I am backing them to bring about an end to the recent disharmony and put the team back on the path to further successes.”
That “disharmony” dates back to the beginning of last year and stems – by Sir Owen’s account in any case – from his alleged exclusion from important decisions about the league club, including the sacking of former coach Matthew Elliott.
According to Sir Owen, an acrimonious meeting between him and Mr Watson in mid-February last year became heated to the point that a police complaint was made and a written apology proffered by Mr Watson.
Sir Owen is also attempting to unwind a $200 million-plus partnership with Mr Watson.