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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr 11, 2012

FFA's legal threat 'laughable': Palmer

Former Gold Coast United owner Clive Palmer has described Football Federation Australia's threat of legal action against Nathan Tinkler's Hunter Sports Group over its intention to hand back the Newcastle Jets' A-League licence as "laughable".

Billionaire mining magnate Palmer also foreshadowed his own $22 million legal claim against the FFA over its decision to terminate his Gold Coast United licence in February.

"FFA CEO Ben Buckley should run a mile from the courts," Palmer said in a statement.

"It's laughable that they are threatening to take Nathan Tinkler to court after taking away our licence for Gold Coast United.

"Meanwhile, they have announced a new team for western Sydney without any proper consultation.

"This debacle highlights that the demise of the FFA is almost certain.

"I feel sorry for the fans and all the people associated with the game in Australia."

Palmer accused the FFA of "misleading and unconscionable" conduct towards A-League owners, particularly Tinkler, who he says was required to pay $5 million for the Jets' licence - 10 times greater than the Gold Coast licence fee.

"As I understand it when Nathan Tinkler provided up to $5 million to the FFA for his licence he understood that money would be spent on football for the benefit of the Newcastle community," Palmer said.

"However, approximately $500,000 was allegedly paid as a secret commission to individual associates of FFA. These payments stand as a testimony to FFA's incompetence."

FFA have denied HSG were unfairly charged to acquire the team's licence, saying the fees were fair given the club was already established and decided upon after a negotiation process.

Palmer said Queensland football fans had also been poorly served by the FFA, after Gold Coast suffered the same fate as North Queensland Fury.

"It's a disgrace for Queenslanders to see the demise of two clubs in one year and then for the FFA to create another southern team," he said.

"Queenslanders deserve better treatment than they have received from the FFA."

Meanwhile, the body set up by Palmer, Football Australia, following having his licence stripped announced its inquiry into the state of the game in Australia would be expanded following the Jets drama.

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