More Fury for North Qld after cyclone?
A tropical cyclone has delayed a final decision on embattled A-League club North Queensland Fury's future.
But a bigger storm may be brewing for the franchise after A-League boss Lyall Gorman admitted the Fury's fate must be decided in the next fortnight to ensure what loomed as a new-look 2011-12 season was finalised.
The Fury had been told by Football Federation Australia boss Ben Buckley they had until the end of January to raise $1.5 million to convince him they should be partially funded for at least another season before the club's community ownership plan kicked into gear in 2012-13.
This week Fury boss Rabieh Krayem said they had raised $450,000 of the required money.
However, Gorman said there had been "no line drawn in the sand" for the Fury - especially with Cyclone Yasi threatening the region.
As a result, Gorman believed it would be "insensitive" to discuss the Fury's future in the coming days.
"My conversation with him (Krayem) today was more around a pending cyclone hitting the area," Gorman told AAP.
"It's another reason why it would be rather insensitive to be sitting down to make any sorts of decisions.
"There are far more compelling and serious issues that their region must confront."
But Gorman hinted at an imminent call on the Fury after a "draw committee" threw up the possibility of a revamped 2011-12 season.
Gorman confirmed that the A-League were looking at starting next season in late September or early October - as opposed to August - in order to avoid clashing with the NRL and AFL finals.
And that ensures a decision on the Fury must be made sooner rather than later.
It is hardly music to the Fury's ears after recent flooding and now a looming cyclone ensured the cancellation of many crucial meetings with potential backers in recent weeks.
"We are sensitive to all the off-field and community issues, but at the end of the day we have to make a decision unrelated to those factors," Gorman said.
"Clearly we have to get out a playing schedule in the next fortnight for next season so clubs can plan ahead."
Low crowd attendances this season have prompted an A-League schedule rethink.
While ladder-leading Brisbane Roar coach Ange Postecoglou appealed for consistency, Gorman confirmed a new-look season was on the cards.
"An earlier starting date is certainly possible so that we are moving away from the focus of other codes' finals but I don't want to pre-empt anything," he said.
But Postecoglou told AAP: "My feeling is let's come up with a formula and stick with it.
"If people have done their research and suggest an October start then I am happy with that but then let's keep it for the next five, 10 years.
"I just think constantly changing things doesn't do anyone any good."
And Postecoglou hinted that the A-League should do what they can to ensure the Fury's survival to avoid yet more change.
"If we are going to expand and bring in new teams we have to back them right to the end," he said.