FOOTBALL: Football Federation Australia has effectively slammed the door on controversial Newcastle Jets owner Nathan Tinkler, announcing a new licence would be issued to an entity it would own and control.
After being unable to reach agreement with the FFA on the sale of the Jets to Scottish club Dundee United for a reported $5 million, Tinkler said he had placed the Jets - which has debts of about $2.7 million - into voluntary administration. The FFA responded by immediately cancelling Newcastle's licence, citing breaches of contract under Tinkler's ownership in relation to non-payment of players and staff.
Tinkler reportedly did not pay staff and player wages on time last week, the third time in four months that had happened.
FFA boss David Gallop said Tinkler's Hunter Sports Group had been given every opportunity to continue as the owner and operator of the licence, but it was simply unable to meet the required conditions.
"FFA has taken this action to protect the interests of the football community in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley, and to safeguard the image and reputation of the A-League and its member clubs," Gallop said in a statement. "Newcastle needs a club operating in a stable environment with certainty of resources in order to be successful and competitive in the A-League, and to properly represent the community.
"HSG has proved to be incapable of meeting these requirements."
Gallop did not hold back in his feelings towards HSG, saying the ongoing player payments issue had clearly been a contributing factor to the club's last-placed finish in the A-League.
"HSG has behaved in a deplorable way towards the players and staff of the club in failing to meet basic obligations to pay wages," Gallop said.
"Anyone who takes control of a sporting club has an obligation to respect the people and the traditions of that club. HSG has failed miserably to in this regard. (Yesterday's) action to terminate the licence is the first step to restoring the proud traditions of football in northern NSW."
Gallop said the FFA would continue talks with several parties interested in the future ownership structure of the A-League club in Newcastle.
He also said contracted Jets players would be offered new deals to remain part of the Newcastle club, but the future of coach Phil Stubbins and other backroom staff was less clear.
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