FFA defends moving grand final to Sydney
Newcastle Jets' fans would be second class citizens if the Football Federation of Australia (FFA) move the A-League grand final to Sydney, the club's chief executive says.
The club would oppose such a move if they qualified to host the grand final after the FFA's decision to relocate the season's finale to Sydney, Newcastle's chief executive John Tsatsimas said.
But FFA chief executive Ben Buckley said the FFA wanted a venue where most fans, particularly away supporters, could attend the grand final.
Tsatsimas said the FFA mentioned this only to the clubs in December after it was agreed at the season's start that the first team into the grand final had earned the right to host it.
The Jets are against playing the grand final in Sydney, he said.
"We believe it is not the right thing to do," Tsatsimas told AAP.
"If we knew from the start of the year, if everyone knew that was the case, we'd accept the referee's decision but obviously it has been mooted for future seasons.
While understanding the commercial motives involved, Tsatsimas said it displayed a lack of respect to Newcastle fans who have supported the club all season.
"We've got the third or fourth biggest crowds in the league in terms of average yet you're treating them like second class citizens, you can't do that," he said.
"It's (FFA) changing the goal posts at the last minute.
"We haven't been formally advised of it at this point."
Buckley said the FFA had the right to schedule finals matches as they see fit.
"We are not being heavy handed," he said.
Buckley said the most important factor was a venue that could allow the most fans to attend the A-League marquee game, which limits EnergyAustralia Stadium in Newcastle with 26,000 capacity and the 20,000 seater BlueTongue Stadium in Gosford.
"If we were to play in Newcastle or on the Central Coast the stadia size there wouldn't allow away fans to come and support their team," Buckley said.
"We think that would be a real disadvantage to people who have come out and shown support for their team for the whole year."
"We don't believe it's a major disadvantage for them to play on a neutral venue."
Newcastle's opponents in the first leg of the major semi-final on Sunday, the Central Coast Mariners, are focused on the match in Newcastle instead of where the grand final may be held, chief executive Lyall Gorman said.
"It is too dangerous for us to be contemplating where we might be playing the grand final until we qualify for it," he said.
"We nearly lost the premiership because we might have got our vision a little bit further than we should have."
Meanwhile Sydney FC's marquee player, Juninho, queried the decision to move the club's first leg of the minor semi-final against Queensland Roar to Sydney due to concerns over the potential state of the pitch at Suncorp Stadium following a Police concert there on Tuesday night.
"It's a bit strange, we finished third, we should have the advantage, so that's the way it should be," Juninho said.
"It doesn't matter if there is a concert in Queensland, we finished third, we should play the second leg at home."