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Apr 11, 2012

A-League will survive Tinkler drama: Glory

At least the A-League still has the support of another mining tycoon who was poised to take his bat and ball and go home.

Perth Glory owner Tony Sage told a Perth newspaper in December that he intended to hand back the club's licence to Football Federation Australia at the end of the season, only to backtrack on those threats.

Sage was shocked by Newcastle counterpart Nathan Tinkler, who attempted to hand his club licence back in on Tuesday despite there being eight years remaining on the deal.

"We have lost two billionaires in Clive Palmer at Gold Coast United and now Nathan Tinkler at the Jets inside a couple of months and that's far from ideal to say the least," Sage told SBS website The World Game.

FFA rejected Tinkler's announcement, with chief executive Ben Buckley warning Tinkler's Hunter Sports Group (HSG) they're breaching a contract by walking away from the Jets.

A peaceful resolution to the matter now seems unlikely, but Sage plans to hold discussions with Tinkler and examine HSG's decision to pull the pin due to a variety of issues with the FFA.

"Until I do that I can't comment on exactly what his motivations may be and whether there is any possibility of there being some sort of re-think on his behalf," Sage said.

"I am just not sure whether this is unequivocal or whether he has left the door open in any way at all."

Tinkler's attempted exit came less than one week after Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) chief executive Brendan Schwab noted the "devastating" impact of the death of Palmer's Gold Coast United.

Schwab's plea that "never again can an A-League team be allowed to fail" is already in danger of being refused.

But Sage is hopeful that even if Tinkler leaves, Newcastle will remain in the competition.

"I am as shocked as anybody and while the club will certainly be in turmoil for the time being, in the bigger picture I feel the A-League will get through this," he said.

"FFA chairman Frank Lowy is no idiot and the clubs are really supportive of the new committee structure which came out of the recent owner's meeting with FFA.

"I am positive on the league going forward. Somebody will take on Newcastle for sure - I am absolutely certain of that."

Tinkler was battered with a multitude of bad press on Wednesday, with Newcastle Knights legend Matt Johns amongst those questioning how his former NRL club will fare under Tinkler's ownership.

"We're not sure what is going on, we don't know what Nathan Tinkler is going to do next," he said on Triple M.

"Nathan Tinkler has proved himself to be extremely volatile. He's a man with little patience, and even less loyalty."

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