Latest News

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Failed sponsorship deal with former Auburn deputy mayor Salim Mehajer forces Auburn Warriors to fold

A FAILED sponsorship deal with disgraced former Auburn deputy mayor Salim Mehajer has forced the Auburn Warriors rugby league club to fold.

A report by Fairfax Media outlines the unpaid sponsorship agreed by Mehajer for $100,000 and the devastating impact that has had on the club responsible for bringing through such NRL talents as Matt Utai, Omar Slaimankhel and Heka Nanai.

Grand finalists in last year’s NSWRL Ron Massey Cup competition, Auburn was relying on at least partial payment of the sponsorship deal with Mehajer in order to continue in 2017 but as the controversial businessman currently sits behind bars for allegedly staging a car crash to avoid a separate court appearance, the club has been left with nothing.

Mehajer’s company, Mehajer Brothers, featured prominently on the Warriors jerseys last season and also in signage at the club’s home ground of Lidcombe Oval but didn’t pay a cent for the privilege, leaving the club with unpaid player payments of some $30,000.

“He didn’t pay us. He didn’t pay a cent,” Auburn Warriors president Fedi Sleiman told Fairfax Media.

“He kept saying, ‘It will be this week, I’m talking to my accountant, they froze my accounts, blah, blah’.

“We just got sick of it in the end.

“His name was on our jerseys, on game day we put it all over our screens and on our shirts, on training gear.

“We were playing at Lidcombe Oval right next to his buildings.

“He earned a lot of exposure but he didn’t come up with his cash.”

Emails between Mehajer and the club last August continually expressed his intent to pay the sponsorship dollars as agreed but nothing has yet been forthcoming, leaving Sleiman and the Warriors to make the difficult decision to close the doors.

“We don’t have a leagues club, we don’t have the backing of anyone else,” Sleiman said.

“When he comes up with nothing, there’s nothing we can do. We can’t keep going.”

The NSWRL confirmed that the Ron Massey Cup runners-up would not be participating in 2018 but Sleiman remains hopeful that a sponsor will be found so that they can re-enter the competition in 2019.

“A few of the boys want to play A-grade until we can find someone who can rescue us next year for Ron Massey, if someone is generous enough to help us out,” Sleiman said.