Football Federation Australia (FFA) may have signed the A-League’s own death warrant, according to former Newcastle Jets owner Nathan Tinkler, who has threatened to sue after being stripped of his licence.
Tinkler slammed the FFA as “selfish”, “immoral” and “unethical” after they took control of the Jets on Wednesday, and argued the football governing body may target other club owners next.
The 39-year-old threatened to sue the FFA for revoking his A-League franchise licence.
“The way it’s going, they [the FFA] might have a few more of these licences in their lap in the next couple of months,” Tinkler told the Daily Telegraph.
“They might have just taken the first step to folding their own competition.”
The FFA and the former mining magnate have been circling each other for months with Tinkler struggling to pay the Jets’ staff and players, with the club reportedly in debt to the tune of 2.7million Australian dollars.
The spat came to a head on Wednesday when Tinkler claimed he had a bid on the table from Dundee United owner Stephen Thompson but had put the club into voluntary administration to finalise the sale.
But having missed a deadline set by the FFA to pay staff and players at the Jets – reportedly the third time in four months – the licence held by Hunter Sports Group (HSG) was revoked, with the FFA claiming that putting the club into financial administration was not allowed according to the terms of their agreement with HSG.
Tinkler said he believes that is unfair.
“The FFA have set the template here of ripping off owners and thinking it’s okay,” he said.
“They peg us guys [owners] to put our hard-earned in and we do and then they want to rip it from you and basically, they are saying that all A-League licences are worth nothing.
“What are we as owners doing this for? The FFA is saying we don’t have anything of value and they are taking steps to try and prove that. Are they going to take the licence off Brisbane next? Are they going to take the licence off Perth or Central Coast next?
“All those guys are in the gun sights of the FFA because we have been stamping our feet saying there has to be change because it is just not sustainable.
“Mark my words. If they are not careful and continue to treat the owners like they are, there won’t be a competition, full stop.”
The FFA have insisted an A-League club will remain in Newcastle, with the governing body planning to set up a new entity to run it.
Tinkler, who was in charge from September 2010, still hopes he can avoid a legal battle.
“I think the FFA’s actions are immoral and unethical. In good faith, I let them talk to the party who wants to buy the club and this is how they have reacted,” he said.
“I’ve got my legal advice but I will just sit on that for now. We’ll go with the buyer to see the FFA to see if some common sense can prevail.”
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