Phoenix owner granted stay of execution

WELLINGTON - The owner of A-League soccer club Wellington Phoenix has been granted another court adjournment as New Zealand tax authorities seek to liquidate five of his companies.

The Inland Revenue has sought an order to liquidate property tycoon Terry Serepisos' companies which owe more than NZ$3.5 million ($2.6 million) in taxes and penalties, placing the future of the Wellington-based club under a cloud.

Associate judge David Gendall had adjourned the hearing until April 18, saying the matter would be settled on that date, local media reported on Thursday.

One of Serepiso's companies is Century City Football Ltd, which owns Wellington Phoenix and owes $335,054 to the Accident Compensation Corporation, a state-owned workplace insurer, the Dominion Post said.

The case has given administrators of Australia's A-League another headache amid financial troubles at a raft of clubs in the top-flight competition.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) said this week they were looking for new investors to take over cash-strapped Brisbane Roar, who will play Central Coast Mariners for the league title at Lang Park this Sunday.

The FFA last week withdrew their support for North Queensland Fury after having spent millions propping up the debt-ridden Townsville-based club. The Fury's demise will see the league cut back to 10 teams next season.


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