FFA to evaluate Gold Coast United future
Football Federation Australia say they won't rush any decision over the future of troubled A-League club Gold Coast United but admit they must re-evaluate it in the wake of owner Clive Palmer's extraordinary outburst.
FFA chief executive Ben Buckley said on Monday the first priority was to maintain the integrity of this season's competition, indicating the need for last-placed United to play it out.
At a media conference in Sydney Buckley again condemned comments made by Palmer in a Brisbane newspaper in which he reportedly labelled his own club "insignificant" and the sport a "hopeless game."
It came on another dramatic day for the club, which announced it had sacked foundation coach Miron Bleiberg a day after he said he was resigning after being controversially stood down by Palmer last week.
The events have thrown into doubt the club's participation in the league next season, despite Palmer holding an A-League licence for a further two years.
Palmer spoke on ABC radio on Monday, claiming his comments had been taken out of context but confirming he was unhappy with how the game was being run by FFA.
Buckley said he would speak with Palmer about the club's future but said FFA had the right to strip a club's licence if it had breached its "commitments and obligations".
"But let's not rush to any particular decision," Buckley said.
"We'll take our time (and) evaluate the future of Gold Coast United over the course of the next four to six weeks and the remainder of the season.
"That's what we'll do, take a sensible, rational approach to look at the future of Gold Coast United.
"... But first and foremost our priority is to make sure the remainder of this season the integrity of the competition remains in place."
Asked if he felt Palmer still had a place in the game, Buckley replied: "He's certainly made a substantive investment. There would be no Gold Coast United without his commitment to the team.
"But I guess some of the comments over the weekend mean that we have to evaluate the future of the Gold Coast United team.
"But I think important (to recognise) there's a lot of fans out there who support the team. There's players who play for the club, there's coaches, there's administrators.
"We need to make sure all of those factors are taken into account before we rush to decisions."
Buckley described Palmer's reported comments as "insensitive and somewhat disrespectful to the millions of people out there who support the game."
Asked to clarify the context of his comments on radio Palmer said: "The context is that we're not happy with the game and what we mean by that is we're not happy with its administration."
"We're not happy with the fact that the Federal Government has had to dish out $8 million and we're not happy with the fact that the top five executives of the FFA are all paid more than $5 million totalled together.
"We don't think those things are good."