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Mar, 28, 2012

Palmer should have say on Coast: bid team

A driving force behind a bid to save Gold Coast United believes the door should not be shut on maverick billionaire Clive Palmer as the A-League club battles for survival.

Entrepreneur Geoffrey Schuhkraft - who heads the bid along with Gold Coast mayoral candidate Tom Tate - is still waiting on a "clear statement of intent" about the A-League franchise's future from Football Federation Australia (FFA).

And he is frustrated the FFA have still not provided the terms and conditions required to keep the Gold Coast club alive next season - only a request to guarantee $5 million in funding in a manner of weeks.

He said the "silence has been deafening" from the FFA, who took over the Gold Coast licence after stripping Palmer of control.

Palmer has threatened to sue the FFA for $20 million if they do not hand back the licence.

As a result, the FFA will reportedly not consider keeping a team on the Gold Coast if Palmer is involved.

However, Schuhkraft believes Palmer has earned the right to have some involvement in United's future.

"Clive Palmer should be given the opportunity to participate in the Gold Coast licence in some capacity," he told AAP.

"I know Clive is more than happy not to be involved in the day-to-day management of the club.

"But for someone who has invested $18 million into the sport ... he needs to be shown a level of respect and appreciation for what he has tried to do.

"Obviously it has not all been perfect but I don't think the door should be closed shut on Clive Palmer.

"I still believe he has a great deal to contribute to football and the Gold Coast."

After receiving "vague" correspondence since approaching the FFA with their proposal, Schuhkraft said the governing body owed it to the Gold Coast football public to reveal their intentions - for better or worse.

"Since the club's launch three years ago, they have stated the importance of the Gold Coast but, as of today, I have not seen one clear statement from anybody at the FFA that they are genuinely serious to maintain a licence," he said.

"If their intent is to crush the hopes and dreams of the Gold Coast football community, as they did to those in North Queensland, then they should be clear and honest.

"What we want to avoid is what happened in North Queensland where the goal posts continually moved as the (survival) negotiations went on.

"That is not constructive and can only lead to the same outcome the Fury faced - the football community had their hearts torn out."

Schuhkraft feared United's demise would lead to the introduction of a western Sydney team, a move he believed would be a slap in the face for Queensland which has the second largest participant rate in Australia.

"I believe having four franchises in NSW and one in Queensland is completely unfair, unacceptable and should not be tolerated by the Queensland football community," he said.

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