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Deal firms for partial sale of Nixon's stable

The Sunday Age

Sunday March 20, 2011

JON PIERIK

A MEETING will be held this week to discuss the potential buy-out of Ricky Nixon's high-profile AFL client list by a rival management company.The Sunday Age was told last night there was major interest in the 46 players and two coaches Carlton's Brett Ratten and the Western Bulldogs' Rodney Eade managed by Flying Start and the troubled Nixon, who remains in a South Australian rehabilitation clinic.Those helping Nixon remain hopeful at least 60 per cent of his list will agree to cross to the new management firm if a deal is reached. Nixon's clients were provided with an update via email last week.It's understood his most prominent client, St Kilda superstar Nick Riewoldt, is open to being part of a mass move. A deal would most likely involve Nixon continuing to be paid any money he is owed by his contracted players until those deals expire. His list also includes Richmond pair Dustin Martin and Jack Riewoldt, and Saint Nick Dal Santo.Players are keen for a resolution as soon as possible, particularly those wanting to renegotiate deals with their clubs."There are moves afoot to segue this part of the company into another management group," a friend of Nixon's said last night.Nixon's reputation and that of his company have been trashed after he was found by investigator David Galbally, QC, to have not acted honestly and with integrity in his dealings with the teenager at the centre of the nude-photo scandal.Nixon and his lawyer, Rod Lamplugh, have until Thursday to reply to the AFL Players Agent Accreditation Board. Nixon, 47, had wanted an extra eight days to fight the verdict but that was denied late on Friday night in consideration of his clients.He has been suspended until his fate is known. It's understood Nixon will consider legal action or appealing to the AFL grievance tribunal if he is stripped of his accreditation, as now appears almost certain.Nixon's dealings with the AFLPA have so far only been through his lawyer. That is expected to continue, as he does not have to appear at the appeal. He is said to be progressing well at the rehabilitation clinic.AFLPA chief executive Matt Finnis has said it was doubtful Nixon, who was once one of the most powerful figures in the sport, would face a life-time ban. "[I would imagine] there would be a period of ineligibility after which he could reapply," Finnis said.Nixon also remains under police investigation over his relationship with the teenager.He has admitted to "inappropriate dealings" with the teen but has denied taking drugs or having sex with her.Those helping him still believe he can play some role in football and pointed to other current and former high-powered AFL managers who have not had official accreditation.The issue of who should administer the accreditation of player agents continued to simmer yesterday. There is strong support among some agents for the AFL to have a greater hand in dealing with the behaviour and standard expected of agents because they feel the AFLPA has taken too long to punish Nixon.Some agents also argue there is a conflict of interest when players and agents are at loggerheads and have to head to a dispute resolution hearing."If I have to go to a dispute resolution with a player, that player will seek advice with the AFLPA. I will go to the agents' board, run by the AFLPA. How does that work?" said one agent.AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou has signalled a more united system."We look forward to talking to the AFLPA, to work with them and the agents, so we can have a tripartite agreement so we can have the agents under our rules," Demetriou said Friday.

© 2011 The Sunday Age

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