Football Federation Australia (FFA) today announced it had issued Gold Coast United FC Pty Ltd with a notice of termination following material breaches of the Club Participation Agreement that governs the conduct of all clubs in the Hyundai A-League.
The termination has been made following at least three clear breaches of the Agreement in recent days, namely:
1. A conscious and deliberate contravention of FFA Policies and Procedures.
2. Deliberate defiance of a direction that was given by FFA; and
3. Repeated public statements made by or on behalf of Gold Coast United that bring the A-League, FFA and the game of football into disrepute and are prejudicial to the interests of FFA, the A-League and the game of football in Australia.
Gold Coast United committed material breaches last Saturday night at Skilled Stadium when the playing strip and the stadium signage featured an unapproved slogan, in deliberative contravention of a direction from FFA.
FFA Chairman Frank Lowy AC today expressed his profound disappointment that FFA had been left with no alternative than to terminate the Gold Coast United-s licence.
“The material breach on Saturday night was followed by a statement from the club that it intended to continue using the slogan,” said Mr Lowy.
“This behavior came on top of public comments that displayed a total lack of respect for football and the millions of Australians who love the game.
“Such disrespectful behavior, a flagrant disregard for the rules and a stated intent to continue breaking the rules made for an intolerable situation.
“As custodians of the game, we had to act to protect the integrity of the Hyundai A-League on behalf of the other nine clubs, players, coaches and most importantly, the fans.”
During the past four weeks Gold Coast United has on several occasions expressed to FFA its strong intention to leave the competition but during the same period issued contradictory statements that it intends to remain in the competition while at the same time continuing to breach FFA policies.
FFA has exhausted attempts with the owner of Gold Coast United to facilitate an orderly process under which the club could complete its remaining fixtures in the 2011/12 Hyundai A-League season and comply with its obligations under the Club Participation Agreement.
Mr Lowy made repeated attempts this morning to talk directly with Mr Palmer to appeal to him to allow a smooth completion of the season and a dignified exit from the game for Mr Palmer. These calls went unanswered.
FFA-s priority now is to explore all options to field a Gold Coast team for the remaining four matches of its season. This would avoid any impact on the standing of the remaining nine clubs and be the fairest outcome for the competition, clubs, players and fans.
Mr Lowy appealed to the football community, including owners of the other nine clubs, to use whatever influence possible to encourage Mr Palmer to allow a smooth and fair outcome to the season.
“FFA will exhaust every practical option to have Gold Coast finish the season,” he said.
FFA CEO Ben Buckley said all practical steps to enable a Gold Coast team to complete the season would be explored, including:
• Talking directly with Gold Coast players to encourage them to enter into arrangements with FFA to play the final four games of the season.
• FFA to pay the players for appearing in these games.
• Possible postponement of Sunday-s scheduled match between Gold Coast and Wellington Phoenix.
“If we need extra time to put in place the necessary arrangements then we will consider postponing the match,” he said.
A-League General Manager Lyall Gorman is already on the Gold Coast to talk with players and make arrangements for the season to continue unimpeded.
“The players are just one of the many innocent victims in all this and FFA will do its best to enable them to see out their playing season on the pitch.
“They deserve that opportunity at the very least,” Mr Buckley said.
Wellington Phoenix Statement:
Wellington Phoenix are keen for their Hyundai A-League game against Gold Coast United to go ahead at Westpac Stadium on Sunday, despite Football Federation Australia today revoking Gold Coast-s licence.
The FFA today issued Gold Coast United FC Pty Ltd with a notice of termination “following material breaches of the Club Participation agreement that governs the conduct of all clubs in the Hyundai A-League”.
Phoenix chairman Rob Morrison said the club would work with the FFA to explore every avenue possible to ensure the game is played as scheduled.