Perth Glory owner Tony Sage close to ‘throwing in the towel’ amid fears border changes will hit A-League games

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Nick TaylorThe West Australian
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Perth Glory owner Tony Sage says he’s close to throwing in the towel.
Camera IconPerth Glory owner Tony Sage says he’s close to throwing in the towel. Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

Perth Glory owner Tony Sage claims he has come close to quitting the A-League club amid fears that WA will be shut out from sport as other states look to drop border restrictions.

Glory lost $4 million in last season’s COVID-hit campaign when they missed out on the finals and Sage said he faced more huge losses if sides were not allowed into WA.

Earlier this year Sage also claimed he was forced to sell one of his homes to get the club through the “by the skin of his teeth”.

Glory face a tough start to the season, opening at home against Adelaide United on November 20 before five away games in a grueling schedule against Western United, Melbourne Victory, Melbourne City, Brisbane Roar and Adelaide United.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - MAY 15: Glory owner Tony Sage poses during a Perth Glory A-League media session at Optus Stadium on May 15, 2019 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Camera IconPerth Glory owner Tony Sage says there’s no support from the government. Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

They also need to play their long delayed FFA Cup qualifying clash with Victory - scheduled as a home game - with FA trying to force them to play the match in Victoria in the middle of the 33-day road trip that ends two days before Christmas.

Further A-League fixtures have not been announced but WA Premier Mark McGowan said WA would not open to Victoria and NSW until “sometime in the first half of next year” and other states may face restrictions upon opening.

Sage, who has long been looking for investors in the club, said: “It’s the first time in 14 years that I’m thinking about throwing in the towel.

“I’ve never ever thought about throwing in the towel as much as I had when I heard those comments.

“There’s no support from Government, there’s no support from the central body (Australian Professional Leagues).”

Glory are celebrating their 25th season and Sage said there had been a demand for memberships on the back of signing former England and Liverpool star striker Daniel Sturridge.

“It’s devastating for the fans,” Sage told Triple M Perth.

Glory fans may not see too much of new recruit in former Liverpool star Daniel Sturridge because of border issues.
Camera IconGlory fans may not see too much of new recruit in former Liverpool star Daniel Sturridge because of border issues. Credit: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Sage claimed 99 per cent of A-League players had been “double-jabbed” and tight arrangements could be made for teams to fly to Perth, stay in their hotel, play the game and fly out immediately.

He said his Glory players would “cop” the first five away games because of the unusual circumstances but added: ”I don’t think the players would want to go away and hub, maybe one or two games only.”

Three years ago, when Sage valued the club at $15 million, he had interest from a Malaysian syndicate led by Dato Chan, co-owner and chairman of Cardiff City from 2010 to 2013 but no deal was struck.

The club was at the centre of the failed sale of 80 per cent to a self-styled crypto-currency company last year.

The sale crumbled after revelations that London Football Exchange was being sued in London and New York and amid further questions over the man behind the deal.

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