Gold Coast cut out of A-League
THE A-league season has been left in disarray after the Football Federation Australia's decision to terminate the license of the Gold Coast United Football Club.
The FFA chairman Frank Lowy said the decision to terminate the license comes after three breaches of the club's agreement in the past few days.
The breaches include deliberate contravention of FFA's policy and procedures, defiance of direction from the association and bringing the game into disrepute.
Mr Lowy said he was disappointed but the association was left with little alternative.
"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 behaviour 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 behaviour, 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."
My Lowy said the decision came after calls to find an outcome to the ongoing dispute to Gold Coast United owner Clime Palmer went unanswered.
The termination is another chapter in the month-long battle between Mr Lowy and Mr Palmer.
On Saturday the team ran onto the field with "freedom of speech" logos on their shirts in support of refugees and a statement about a legal battle between Mr Palmer's company and sponsor Hyatt.
For weeks, Mr Palmer has been an outspoken critic of the A-league and the FFA.
FFA chief executive officer Ben Buckley said all practical steps to enable a Gold Coast team to complete the season would be explored, including the association paying players to compete in the last four games of the season.
"If we need extra time to put in place the necessary arrangements then we will consider postponing the match," he said.
Mr Palmer said the government needed to investigate the FFA after he heard about the license termination.
"Gold Coast United has been denied natural justice and we are prepared to go to the highest court in the country to challenge this ludicrous decision," he said.
"We have no intention of deserting our players and supporters."
Mr Palmer said the logos the players wore on their shirts on the weekend was the reason for the termination.
"The message has been used in place of Hyatt branding as we are in a legal dispute with that company and I can't see anything wrong with such a simple but meaningful statement such as the right to freedom of speech," he said.
Mr Palmer said he held Mr Lowy in the highest regard but he had led an incompetent and overpaid FFA administration which had also blown $46 million of taxpayers' money with a failed bid to host the World Cup which attracted just one vote.
"Frank Lowy is an institution in Australian sport but judging by this decision he might be visiting a different kind of institution," he said.
"He has brought the game into disrepute. The sport should not be run by dictators like him."