BRISBANE, Australia (AP) – An Indonesian company has taken a 70-percent stake in the A-League defending champions Brisbane Roar, the first majority foreign ownership of a team in the Australian competition.
Football Federation Australian said Friday that Bakrie Group, which also has stakes in football clubs in Belgium, Uruguay and its home base in Indonesia, has taken the stake under a 10-year license. FFA, which took the Roar's license back in March 2011, will retain 30 percent.
FIFA ethics committee member Dali Tahir will be chairman of the club.
Pelita Jaya Cronus also has stakes in Pelita Jaya in the Indonesian Super League, Cercle Sportif Vise of the Belgian Second Division and Indonesia Futbol S.A.D in the Uruguay under-17 and under-19 top division.
Brisbane opens the 2011-12 season on Saturday in a grand final replay against the Central Coast Mariners. As A-League champions, the Roar will also take part in the high-profile Asian Champions League competition this season.
Although it is the first foreign majority ownership of an A-League team, Russian millionaire banker David Traktovenko has a 20 percent stake in Sydney FC through one of his Australian manufacturing subsidiaries, an FFA spokesman said.
The A-League has been troubled by team ownership issues, in addition to having to take over the Brisbane license earlier this year. The North Queensland Fury folded in February due to financial problems, reducing the league to 10 teams, and there have been some issues with several other franchises.
Two weeks ago, Football Federation Australia said the Wellington Phoenix would play under new ownership after its founder, financially troubled property developer Terry Serepisos, agreed to step aside. The only New Zealand-based club in the league will be taken over by a consortium of local businessmen.
''We have been working extremely hard to find the right investors for last year's premiers and we believe we have found fantastic new owners in the Bakrie Group.'' FFA chief executive Ben Buckley said in a statement Friday.
''They have a strong background in football through ownership of several other clubs and their interests are in line with our outlook for the Roar.''
Aga Bakrie, president of Pelita Jaya Cronus, said his company's commitment to the Roar ''is for the long term.''
''(It's) an opportunity to not only support the growth of football in Brisbane, but to also strengthen ties between Australia and Indonesia,'' Bakrie said. ''We have a strong track record of investing in football and we will support the club as it seeks to grow.''