Sharks battle on as election looms

Embattled Cronulla Sharks chairman Barry Pierce has today announced that there will be an Extraordinary General Meeting at the club on July 31.

The Sharks board held a four-hour meeting this morning "to discuss recent events and the concerns of members."

After being endorsed by the club's board, Pierce read from a prepared statement that the EGM would take place "for the purposes of conducting a fresh election and recommend changes to the club's constitution."

"Details of the election will be announced at the annual general meeting on Thursday, 28 May.

"The current election will run its course."

In recent weeks, the club has reportedly been on the brink of collapse and Pierce's position has come under scrutiny following a series of incidents, including the 2002 sex scandal saga and the club's financial position.

To date, the Sharks have lost $150,000 in sponsorship due to the off field dramas at a time when the club is looking down the barrel of financial disaster.

Over the last 11 years, and since Super League bonuses were paid, the club has gone from $13 million in the black to millions of dollars in the red, including a $9 million debt to St George Bank.

The Sharks are also facing a $1.4 million loss, a $2 million bank overdraft and over $12 million in short-term debt that has still to be refinanced.

On Thursday, major sponsor LG Electronics announced it would not continue its $700,000-a-year agreement next year, while other sponsors have pulled out or are threatening to end their association with the Sharks unless there is a change in the board.

To make matters worse, on Wednesday, it was announced that Sharks utility Reni Maitua tested positive to the banned substance Clenbuterol. In the same week, Chief executive Tony Zappia's accidental punch on a former female employee last year cost the club $20,000.

On Monday, the Sharks board will be meeting with the National Rugby League to discuss the club's future.

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