Should FFA cut the North Queensland Fury loose?

Davidde Corran Roar Guru

40 Have your say

    Robbie Fowler in action during the Newcastle Jets vs North Queensland Fury A-League match. AAP Image/Tim Clayton

    A few weeks ago, I wrote about the sudden collapse of Womens Pro Soccer side, the Los Angelas Sol, after just one season. The inaugural regular season champions paid the price for taking a “big spender” approach.

    The WPS’ administrators had the option to fund the Sol out of their own pocket for another season, but decided not to financially support a team that weren’t viable at the present time.

    As I wrote here on the Roar back in January, “the WPS’ future won’t be decided by the loss of the Sol. In fact they will most likely be stronger for it. The league is about to open its first purpose built stadium in Atlanta, welcome two new franchises and won’t be allowing club owners to make the same mistakes as Los Angeles’ did anytime soon.”

    At the time I also suggested this was a lesson Football Federation Australia could learn from. I didn’t expect the opportunity to arise so quickly though.

    North Queensland Fury’s continued financial plight took a turn for the worse last week when Don Matheson effectively withdrew from the club, leaving them without a major financial backer. For a team that was losing around AU$40,000 a week, that’s obviously dire news.

    While I’m certain Archie Fraser and the rest of Football Federation Australia would have been aware of this possibility for some time, it came as a shock to followers of the A-League.

    The Fury’s future has been left in the balance and the FFA have said they are ready to step in, again. Just like with Adelaide United. Just like with Perth Glory. Just like with Brisbane Roar. Just like with Gold Coast United. And just like with the New Zealand Knights.

    It’s a worrying trend. All this begs the question: should FFA save the Fury or cut them loose?

    As one writer wrote in the aftermath of the Sol’s collapse, “if women’s professional soccer is to survive in the long-run, it has to be because it’s sustainable, not thanks to charity from Uncle Phil.”

    Is the same true here?

    One key difference is that Australian sport followers aren’t used to sides or “franchises” picking up and moving on as is common right across the American sporting landscape.

    On the other hand, from a professional standpoint, it is very poor form to see players, coaching and administration staff finding their jobs in a state of peril. In that regard, the Fury’s plight can’t be allowed to become a trend and I’m certain the PFA will be watching closely.

    If the club’s future has been jeopardised, then you have to wonder about the wisdom of signing Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler on a large marquee contract.

    I know hindsight is a great luxury, but with the club losing nearly AU$40,000 every single week, by removing Fowler’s salary from the equation the club would have cut that loss by half.

    However, the Fury did offer decent value on the pitch more often then not in their debut season (though when they were bad, they were terrible). Even beyond the signing of Robbie Fowler there was plenty to get excited about (David Williams for one), and I’d certainly like to see the Fury return to the league next season.

    Yet such emotions and desires shouldn’t be allowed to get in the way if the Fury’s continued presence in the A-League jeopardises the competition’s future.

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