Jets owner considers legal options after FFA revelations
22 Feb 2012
Under-fire Football Federation Australia (FFA) was dealt another blow on Tuesday with the news that Newcastle Jets owner Nathan Tinkler is considering legal action over revelations he could have overpaid for the club’s A-League licence.
The matter again centres on outspoken Gold Coast United owner Clive Palmer, who is also currently involved in a dispute with FFA. In an interview with SBS TV, Palmer, who was discussing financial issues involving the Federation, said: “I had to pay a A$500,000 fee for the (Gold Coast) licence and met every criteria. Poor Nathan Tinkler had to pay A$7 million (sic) and I think the guy from Wellington Phoenix had to pay the same.”
Tinkler’s Hunter Sports Group (HSG) owns both the Jets and the Newcastle Knights National Rugby League (NRL) club. While The Australian newspaper reports that the actual figure HSG paid FFA for the Jets licence is A$5 million this is still almost double the sum the Group paid for the Knights and is by far the biggest figure charged to any A-League franchise. The Jets said in a statement: “The Newcastle Jets have been in dialogue with the FFA for several months in an attempt to resolve a number of key issues and take this opportunity to clarify their position. The Jets can confirm the FFA charged a substantial fee for its club licence. This money was paid in good faith as the Jets were advised by the FFA it was a standard fee. It has since become apparent at the time of acquisition that the Jets were the only owners to be charged a multi-million-dollar fee. The Jets are currently reviewing this transaction and considering their legal options.”
The Jets have also supported Palmer’s calls for an overhaul of FFA’s administration of the A-League, stating that the combined loss of the 10 clubs “is in the vicinity of $40 million per year, which is unsustainable”. The Jets added: “In regards to the key points raised by Clive Palmer, the Newcastle Jets support the notion of: clubs having greater input into the running of the A-League; increased transparency and accountability of the FFA; a change in the current commercial model of the A-League.”