Crowe selling his beloved South Sydney for family reasons

Coffs Coast identity Russell Crowe is believed to be preparing for a dignified exit from South Sydney ownership.
Coffs Coast identity Russell Crowe is believed to be preparing for a dignified exit from South Sydney ownership. Frank Redward

OSCAR-winning actor Russell Crowe says he is selling his stake in is his beloved NRL club South Sydney to put his family first.

Crowe, who recently separated from his wife Danielle Spencer and is facing a costly divorce settlement, is expected to sell his stake in the Rabbitohs by the end of next year.

As revealed in the Coffs Coast Advocate on the weekend, The Rabbitohs will hold a press conference today to confirm the news.

In an email aired on the Nine Network, Crowe said: "I have to address personally how busy I made my life outside of my actual job.

"If I have any chance of keeping my family together I have to simplify my life where I can.

"It doesn't change anything at the club level. I will always be a South Sydney supporter and member as I have been, man and boy. South Sydney until I die."

Rabbitohs management called a media conference for 11am Monday at Redfern Oval where the Nana Glen-based actor and entrepreneur is expected to issue a statement to confirm the rumour that's been sweeping the rugby league world for the past 48 hours.

Crowe and businessman Peter Holmes a Court bought the club after a sometimes bitter three-year pursuit of the licence and then poured over $11 million into the venture while turning Souths into the best supported outfit in the NRL.

During that period he continued a local association with Group 2 team Orara Valley Axemen after being introduced to the club by older brother Terry.

Holmes a Court praised Crowe's efforts to help turn the club around since 2006.

''Russell has today announced that this will be his last season as an owner of the Rabbitohs,'' Holmes a Court said.

''There are so many great things that he has done over the last six seasons that will never be seen.

''One thing that will always stay with the club is his pursuit of excellence in everything we do, a drive that has to be seen to be believed.

''This passion and focus is now in the club's DNA and it won't ever leave.

"All praise for him: for his investment, his passion, his time and his love of the Rabbitohs. I consider myself fortunate to have been by his side for some of the ride.''

Indications are the withdrawal from Souths' ownership will be completed by the end of 2013 but it's not known if the Holmes a Court connection will also be severed.

Sources have told The Coffs Coast Advocate a clause in the original purchase contract allows football club members to buy back the entire club for a symbolic one dollar fee.

However, this clause would not be triggered unless the full list of current shareholders withdrew.

Souths are in the final stages of a promotional contract with Coffs Harbour City Council and are due to play at trial with Newcastle at BCU International Stadium on February 16 next year.

The contract is not expected to be renewed but it's believed negotiations are well advanced to have both the Gold Coast Titans and Sydney Swans forge formal relationships with the city.

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