Gold Coast United FC owner Clive Palmer watching his United A-league team's first training session. AAP Image/Tony Phillips

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It was always going to come to this. Football Federation Australia (FFA) yesterday revoked Gold United’s A-League licence in an attempt to bring to an end Clive Palmer’s one-man tirade against the governing body and put the sorry club out of its misery.

What a fortnight it’s been for a club that has been plagued with flaws from very early in its existence, most self-inflicted by its owners.

The events of yesterday leaves us with so many questions…

Was the decision to revoke Gold Coast United’s licence justified?

Yes, but not the timing. According to Frank Lowy, Ben Buckley and the FFA, enough was enough. Palmer and Gold Coast United made “a conscious and deliberate contravention of FFA Policies and Procedures” with their “Freedom of Speech” logos in their last home match, supposedly in the name of refugees and not directed to the governing body given the public war of words of the last fortnight.

Then there was “deliberate defiance of a direction that was given by FFA; and 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.”

The FFA wouldn’t have taken the decision to revoke without the confidence of knowing it was justified within the terms of the agreement between them and Palmer, knowing the latter would take it the courts with no expense sparred.

But why now, with four rounds left in the season, jeopardising the competition as a whole? Yes, Palmer could have continued his public tirades in full public view, causing some embarrassment to the game.

As Lowy said, “We can’t let anybody thumb their noses at us saying, ‘I’m going to do what we want to do but I want to stay’.

“We cannot leave ourselves totally open to what Gold Coast wants to do. We were hoping there would be some reconciliation. I tried to talk and I couldn’t. We can’t be in this limbo. We’ve got to bring this saga to an end.”

But ultimately Palmer was only embarrassing himself and his own club, further ostracising himself with his actions and nonsensical justifications, giving the FFA more grounds to kick him out at season’s end.

Would a fine, sanction or points ban not have worked in the short-term before termination at the end of their campaign? The timing, on the day of a Socceroos World Cup qualifier and with the rest of the home and away season yet to be completed, seems a confusing one, highlighting how much damage has been done.

What happens for the rest of the A-League season?

While the FFA is hoping Gold Coast United will field a team and compete in their remaining four matches, it seems doubtful Palmer, in this mood, will play ball, even if the FFA is willing to pay the players, which is illegal under the regulations of the game, according to Professional Footballer’s Association CEO Brendan Schwab.

Given the current climate of antagonism, it’s unlikely we’ll see Gold Coast United play again. It would take a mighty diplomatic effort to put them on the park for those remaining games, and if Palmer doesn’t cooperate, then it becomes and immensely complex logistical game to save those fixtures. After all, the FFA cannot field a team itself, borrowing Gold Coast United’s players who have been left unfairly in no-mans land.

If those remaining matches are scrapped, then the only option the FFA has is to expunge Gold Coast’s matches this season from the record. Otherwise the competition is jeopardised when the four clubs still to play Gold Coast, who are all in the finals race (Wellington, Newcastle, Perth and Brisbane), could be given an unfair advantage against a rag-tag team assembled by the governing body. It would severely undermine the integrity of the competition.

If Gold Coast’s matches are erased from the record, there will obviously be consternation amongst teams disadvantaged at such a critical juncture of the season. If other clubs kick up a stink, then the FFA will have to cop it. This is a potential minefield involving all clubs, which is the FFA’s doing.

Where does the A-League go after this season?

As Frank Lowy stressed during the press conference, retaining a 10-team competition is crucial for next season, particularly when the next television deal is being negotiated as that one less game per round makes a big difference.

But if Gold Coast United is out, who can come in? While there is all this talk of a Western Sydney club being a “prime objective” for the league, with Lowy saying he is “absolutely determined” to bring the region into the fold, there appears to be no investor willing to back such a club… still.

The Australian reported during the week that businessman Paul Lederer recently told the FFA he wasn’t interested given the current business model he would have to enter into.

Following on from the stillborn Sydney Rovers and other parties who were allegedly interested in the possibility of backing a team but never came through with the goods, finding necessary backing and creating a club from scratch this late in the day seems a stretch. Even if it is willing to bankroll a Western Sydney club itself, the FFA will still need to find the necessary investors down the track. Can it be trusted to get this one right and create a club/structure attractive enough for an investor(s)?

In the rush to get back to 10 teams, the FFA can’t make the same mistakes it made in its previous expansion moves, namely on the Gold Coast and in North Queensland – relying too heavily on the capital of a potential owner without the necessary due diligence on that individual or the market it is entering.

Canberra, Tasmania and Wollongong all have cases for A-League inclusion, but can the current model sustain a club in markets smaller than the Gold Coast?

Considering the time constraints and the obvious hurdles to create a startup club, is it time for the A-League to do what was once considered unthinkable and look to the state leagues to step up to the national competition?

If it already has the foundations of a solid club with a fanbase in a strong market, surely it makes more sense in this current climate than the cost and risk associated with a brand new club.

If Western Sydney is the place to be, why can’t a Marconi take its place in the A-League?

Can Gold Coast United be revived?

Given the insistence that a 10-team A-League is necessary, there is always the prospect that the inability to find a suitable replacement could lead the FFA to takeover Gold Coast United, as they have done elsewhere, and search for new owners.

That would be a last resort. But any new owner will inherit a club heavily scarred by Palmer’s ownership, with a tiny fanbase in a congested and fickle market, and with the same stadium dilemma that beset Palmer (heavy rent of Skilled Park, or the costly option to setup shop elsewhere).

Given the current market, the displeasure of other owners and the questioning of the current A-League model, the chances of finding another backer appear slim. As the FFA has found in its chase for backers in Western Sydney, there are few out there willing to bankroll a football club at an almost guaranteed loss.

The reality is this failed expansion move has, more than likely, taken Gold Coast completely out of the equation for the A-League. Any future attempts to revive United under different ownership or starting a new club will do so in the shadow of this failure, at a time when the Gold Coast Suns AFL club recently hit the 10,000 member mark (Gold Coast United has fewer than 400 members) and is increasingly crowding out an already crowded market.

Does this open the way for Clive Palmer’s breakaway league?

In the wake of the FFA’s press conference, Palmer told The World Game, “I have the resources to go out and form a 10-team competition of my own and perhaps that’s what I will do. If Mr. Lowy wants to take on my wealth against his, let’s bring it on.”

The clubs may have justified grievances with the FFA, certainly given the amount they are losing and the FFA’s stubbornness to reform and give them a greater say in the running of the game.

But if they honestly think Palmer is the man to lead a breakaway, given the events of recent weeks, they are deluding themselves. Palmer has made a right mess of Gold Coast United. He has constantly contradicted himself on his interest in the game and the future of his club – his calls for “freedom of speech” while sacking a coach for daring to question his appointment of a 17-year-old debutant as captain the height of hypocrisy.

Squash the breakaway notion without consideration, club owners. Palmer isn’t the white knight some are portraying him as. The game cannot afford a third chance and undo the solid groundwork that is the A-League. Hopefully it is just an empty threat that is ignored.

What does this do to the A-League and FFA brand?

Untold damage, particularly off the back of the demise of the North Queensland Fury and the failed World Cup bid. The second expansion club folding in as many years, with the airing of all the dirty laundry that goes with it, means the undoubted progress made by the league this season has been all but forgotten. Today, when we should be talking about a famous win for the Socceroos, we are instead analysing the demise of a football club.

Yet again mainstream Australia is left to question whether the game can govern itself and overcome the clear divisions that exist and date back to the changeover from Soccer Australia to Football Federation Australia, the National Soccer League to the A-League.

This debacle comes at a time when the next television deal, seen as crucial to the financial state of the league going forward, is being negotiated and the A-League season approaches its finals, overshadowing the on-field product – a repeat of the goings on last season with the Fury.

With Palmer threatening legal action and calling for the government to look into the FFA’s funding and books, not to mention Newcastle Jets’ recent comments regarding their dealings with the FFA, this will just get worse.

Who is to blame for Gold Coast United’s failings?

Three groups: Clive Palmer and his mining/Gold Coast United allies, the FFA and the apologists. All three are culpable and not lose sight of that in the mud slinging.

Palmer and co made untold mistakes with the club from day one, setting unrealistic expectations and alienating their supporter base. He cannot deflect the blame wholly onto the FFA.

Looking from the outside, it almost seems like he has orchestrated this course of events to get to this point; forcing the FFA to kick the club out of the competition to either put the onus on the governing body or get something back through litigation – something he seems to enjoy (68-0 in the courts, as he will happily tell you).

But the FFA made the mistake of getting into business with a man who had no background in football and made his fortune in a field as far removed from the sporting arena as you can get. Had they not had countless warnings before this recent saga to see that something was awry on the Gold Coast? Why did they allow it to escalate to this point?

And this is where the third party, the apologists, come into the equation. When Gold Coast failed to replace Shane Smeltz, Jason Culina, Bruce Djite, Zenon Caravella and more with adequate signings, relying on youth players to fill the squad, offering only one-year contracts, yet another sign the club was headed nowhere, where was the questioning?

How many in the game – media, personnel and more – buried their head in the sand assuming everything would be okay? Why was Palmer given the benefit of the doubt after the crowd caps and more, allowing him to continue to lead the club into extinction?

Gold Coast United was always destined to finish last this season while fielding a youth team with a light sprinkle of experience, and it was on a slippery slope from early in its existence. Could we not see that?

But back to the FFA, this is the second expansion club to be kicked out of the competition in as many years – FFA’s expansion plans an unmitigated failure.

Once you throw in Australia’s $45 million-plus World Cup bid, launched and run and a time when the A-League was far from secure yet expanding, and the inability to get a Western Sydney club up and running in the game’s supposed heartland, then serious questions have to be asked on the governance of the game and whether it deserves the generous government funding it receives.

Yet where is the accountability? And why haven’t heads rolled?

Adrian Musolino
Adrian Musolino

Adrian Musolino is editor of V8X Magazine, and has written as an expert on The Roar since 2008, cementing himself as a key writer who can see the big picture in sport. He freelances on other forms of motorsport, football, cycling and more.

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The Crowd Says (68)

  • March 1st 2012 @ 5:45am
    Ross said | March 1st 2012 @ 5:45am | ! Report

    Great article Adrian- keep up the good work.

    The FFA in my opinion had no choice to kick GCU out- but they have completely stuffed up with expansion… I feel someone has to be accountable at the FFA for this farce. I don’t like the idea of rushing a 10th team either.

    That someone is Ben Buckley who presided over this expansion (with Lowy not that far behind)… these 2 lost sight of the A-League with their joke of a World Cup bid.

    I have no idea why Buckley is the head of the FFA still- he has done nothing for the game. Its obvious he is only there for TV rights (and in the back of his mind a better resume so he can go back to his beloved AFL).

    Wake up FFA- get some expertise from the J-League or the MLS… they can teach you a thing or two in markets where football isnt no.1

    • March 1st 2012 @ 12:28pm
      WoobliesFan said | March 1st 2012 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

      x 2

  • March 1st 2012 @ 5:47am
    Johnno said | March 1st 2012 @ 5:47am | ! Report

    Things happen for a reason and long term this can only be good for the game. The FFA seem to make out that Clive Palmer was destructive and counter productive for the A-league. Maybe Clive Palmer was a poisnous snake ot the sport of football and the A-league in Australia who knows more will be found out about this saga.

    Some i have been watching on tv have said this is a smokescreen, too him actually wanting out of his licence deal , im not sure if that is true but who knows with Australian soccer, if you look through it’s history nothing surprises me.

    Soccer Australia, the NSL, FFA, A-league , all seem to have so many problems, rugby league and AFL which have it’s houses in order both must be surprised how football has so many turmoils.

    Lowy said in the press statement on rock hard legal advice they are legally protected in what the FFA have done,.
    Clive says he has a precept record int he litigation matters he has had in court if he challenges Frank Lowy , i think CLive may lose , everyone in life has to lose eventually, and in Frank Lowy a fellow billionaire and big bussinessman, he CLive Palmer maybe finally has met his match. Interesting what Tinkler and Tony Sage will do next too.

    But on the positive it actually hastens the momentum for a team from West sydney, maybe woollongong, Canberra, even northern beaches as lucas Neil has said he would support a team from the northern beaches manly/brookvale way. They could play at brookvale oval.

    Scott chipperfield has said he would play in A-league team if Wollongong got one.
    I would also seriously look at a 2nd Adelaide team and market it as west Adelaide, Geelong,or even Hobart or Launceston ,Burnie, or Devenport and I think even Beaconsfield which have all hosted ODI cricket matches, and AFL matches.

    I don’t know if old NSL clubs sydny olympic, sth melbourne, marconi, melbourne knights, sydney untied, despite having impressive business plans will get the 10th to 12 licences but you never know.

    So this has been a wake up call for the FFA but a blessing long term as they will be able to remodel there business plans and directions for the future.
    I don’t think Frank Lowy despite being 81 and 82 this year will resign yet. And i don’t think Ben Buckley will be sacked but you never know.

    And also the issue of growing the game organically and boutique stadiums seem to be really in now too.

  • March 1st 2012 @ 6:09am
    Bob said | March 1st 2012 @ 6:09am | ! Report

    Another black eye for professional soccer in Australia.

  • March 1st 2012 @ 8:11am
    Kasey said | March 1st 2012 @ 8:11am | ! Report

    Good summary Adrian,

    Overall a painful but neccessary step IMO. Once again though FFA is terribly disappointing in its timing. When the NQ Fury decision was made, it was right on the eve of the last HAL finals series, leading into the business end of a season which had had the best quality of play yet seen. Yesterday’s spectacular announcement, on the day the Socceroos played a World Cup Qualifier no less showed that the FFA still has no idea how to work with the media cycle. Unless the ‘roos got thumped 5-0 last night, todays talk was always going to be about this. Way to take the gloss off(and direct attention away) from your premium ‘product’ 🙁
    Of course Jabba the Parma wil head to the courts, so I hope Mr Lowy has watertight legal advice, cos this sh*t is about to get even messier:(
    Finally I hope the FFA has the plans in place to run GCU through to the remainder of the season to protect the integrity of the run in to the finals.
    Its too bad that there isn’t a white knight (Tinkler-style) to take over he GC licence, perhaps rebrand them and make amends with the GC community going forward from here. I think the chances of that are slim to none though, which is a pity.

    PS: The only 2 groups of people that will be happy about this turn of events are the bitter and twisted anti-Lowy types that do nothing but let their hatred of the man colour their view of the football landscape. They take perverse pleasure in the trevails of football so they can pontificate that they are arrogantly, the ‘true’ football fans, while we other types are somehow lesser, ‘less passionate’ fans, because we follow “plastic soulless franchises”
    the second group are those that will take great glee in once again proclaiming Sokkah’s ability to shoot itself in the foot, yes, this is the end they’ll tell us. Sadly for them it isn’t, its not pleasent, but merely part of the journey towards the ultimate goal of a strong and successful domestic football league in this country.

  • Roar Guru

    March 1st 2012 @ 8:24am
    The Cattery said | March 1st 2012 @ 8:24am | ! Report

    Palmer’s comments about funding his own breakaway league have been reported on ABC radio this morning. We all know it’s a silly idea, but Palmer has reached a stage where he is happy to be a fly in the ointment, and he has the wealth to back it up – that’s precisely what he is saying in interviews – he has more money than the FFA, and he’s right.

    • March 1st 2012 @ 10:22am
      Futbanous said | March 1st 2012 @ 10:22am | ! Report

      A breakaway League I’d like to see that. Clive takes on the weasel & his gang now that would be something.

    • March 1st 2012 @ 11:57am
      Bob said | March 1st 2012 @ 11:57am | ! Report

      The break-away league wouldn’t be FIFA sanctioned and he would get no players or entry into any regional competitions or events.

      • Roar Guru

        March 1st 2012 @ 12:50pm
        The Cattery said | March 1st 2012 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

        Bob

        You are right so far as what you have mentioned in your post.

        But you are presuming that the 10,000+ sem-professional players now playing the game all around the country (and in our neighbourhood), wouldn’t be attracted by Palmer offering them up to $100k per season to play in another league, just because that league is not FIFA sanctioned.

        He has seen his youth team take on the best in the A-League, on minimum wages, and he might be thinking to himself: could I replicate that across a whole league?

        Palmer could probably start up his own league at a cost of around $30 million per annum.

        Now you and I would agree that that sounds like a waste of money – why would anyone bother?

        I can’t answer that, but he clearly has something in mind.

        On the radio, an interviewer asked me: where would this league be located, would there be an off-shore element? and Palmer said something like wait and see.

        • March 1st 2012 @ 2:57pm
          Stevo said | March 1st 2012 @ 2:57pm | ! Report

          Strange days indeed. Maybe Clive is talking to the disaffected ex-NSL clubs to help him start a new league. Olympic, South Melb, Marconi, Syd United, etc, etc. And Clive would probably get support from les and Foz! Sounds crazy but ….

        • Roar Guru

          March 1st 2012 @ 3:09pm
          Fussball ist unser leben said | March 1st 2012 @ 3:09pm | ! Report

          $30m to start his own 10 team league?

          We’re talking 200+ players of semi-pro quality, who will never be registered by FIFA and can kiss goodbye any football playing career outside “The CP League” … yeah – should be a huge success. Huge TV market, ticket sales & global recognition for Clive.

          Will there be a “geriatric league” … where do I sign (of course, I’m presuming I’m no longer part of Holger’s plans for Brazil 2014!)

          • March 1st 2012 @ 5:20pm
            Nathan of Perth said | March 1st 2012 @ 5:20pm | ! Report

            Not to mention a pool of at least 30 qualified match officials and assessors who can perform at a professional level. Those don’t exactly grow on trees.

            The whole country only has 200 Level 1 Referees!

        • Roar Guru

          March 1st 2012 @ 5:13pm
          The Cattery said | March 1st 2012 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

          I hate to say I told you so – but CP has just tweeted:

          “Today I have launched Football Australia and we aim to replace incompetent FFA. @ArchieFraser will be the CEO. More details to come”

          • Roar Guru

            March 1st 2012 @ 5:13pm
            The Cattery said | March 1st 2012 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

            Stated aim is to replace @FFA and states transparency and fairness ad its goal.

          • Roar Guru

            March 1st 2012 @ 5:14pm
            The Cattery said | March 1st 2012 @ 5:14pm | ! Report

            Palmer intends to challenge FFA GCU decision in court.

          • Roar Guru

            March 1st 2012 @ 5:15pm
            The Cattery said | March 1st 2012 @ 5:15pm | ! Report

            Clive Palmer: “We’ll be making people in football accountable to the people that matter in the game and that’s the fans …”

          • Roar Guru

            March 1st 2012 @ 5:16pm
            The Cattery said | March 1st 2012 @ 5:16pm | ! Report

            Archie Fraser: “It’s really important the game has a voice hopefully this indepnedent body will give it …”

          • Roar Guru

            March 1st 2012 @ 5:17pm
            The Cattery said | March 1st 2012 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

            Archie Fraser: “I will extend my hand to the senior executives of FFA to embrace this and get involved …”

          • Roar Guru

            March 1st 2012 @ 5:17pm
            The Cattery said | March 1st 2012 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

            Archie Fraser: “Things must change in football.”

          • March 1st 2012 @ 5:18pm
            Nathan of Perth said | March 1st 2012 @ 5:18pm | ! Report

            He’s off his rocker, well and truly.

            Has he been speaking with the rebel Indonesian League people?

          • Roar Guru

            March 1st 2012 @ 5:19pm
            The Cattery said | March 1st 2012 @ 5:19pm | ! Report

            Archie Fraser: “The biggest difference (to FFA) will be that we’ll be transparent about things …”

          • Roar Guru

            March 1st 2012 @ 5:19pm
            Fussball ist unser leben said | March 1st 2012 @ 5:19pm | ! Report

            Clive Palmer is NOT a director of “Football Australia” and Archie has categorically stated he wants to work WITH the FFA not against the FFA.

            Archie has also stated the entity will NOT be forming a breakaway pro-football league

            • Roar Guru

              March 1st 2012 @ 5:25pm
              The Cattery said | March 1st 2012 @ 5:25pm | ! Report

              You’re right – it looks more like a lobbying group than a league – but it’s insane all the same.

          • Roar Guru

            March 1st 2012 @ 5:20pm
            The Cattery said | March 1st 2012 @ 5:20pm | ! Report

            Fraser says it is indicative of the mess the game is in that the name #FootballAustralia could be registered 24 hours ago

            • Roar Guru

              March 1st 2012 @ 5:28pm
              Fussball ist unser leben said | March 1st 2012 @ 5:28pm | ! Report

              That’s not unusual. I’ve just done a company search and, tomorrow morning, I could register the company name “Australian Football Pty Ltd”. Does this mean AFL is in a mess?

            • Roar Guru

              March 1st 2012 @ 5:33pm
              The Cattery said | March 1st 2012 @ 5:33pm | ! Report

              The business names are probably tied up, generally speaking, you try and tie up as many combos as you can.

            • March 1st 2012 @ 5:35pm
              Nathan of Perth said | March 1st 2012 @ 5:35pm | ! Report

              You’ll probably have to ask Archie Fraser that…

            • Roar Guru

              March 1st 2012 @ 5:41pm
              Fussball ist unser leben said | March 1st 2012 @ 5:41pm | ! Report

              @ The Cattery

              Nope. Just checked the ABN register and no business name “Australian Football” with an active ABN registration number

            • Roar Guru

              March 1st 2012 @ 6:22pm
              The Cattery said | March 1st 2012 @ 6:22pm | ! Report

              I guess trying to register Australian Football would be like trying to register Rugby or Cricket – I wonder if it’s at all possible?

              Maybe there’s some form of trademark protection?

          • Roar Guru

            March 1st 2012 @ 5:24pm
            The Cattery said | March 1st 2012 @ 5:24pm | ! Report

            #FootballAustralia Pty Ltd was registered yesterday, 29 February 2012

            • March 1st 2012 @ 9:30pm
              whiskeymac said | March 1st 2012 @ 9:30pm | ! Report

              business and company names are just that, names…. however go to IP Australia for trademark.. thats the ticket for protecting a name, identity etc.
              you may well register a business or company name but it wont be long until the lawyers letter comes through the post.

    • March 1st 2012 @ 4:10pm
      Davo said | March 1st 2012 @ 4:10pm | ! Report

      too bad Clive can’t do that. Its against FIFA regulations.

      • March 1st 2012 @ 5:23pm
        Nathan of Perth said | March 1st 2012 @ 5:23pm | ! Report

        Interesting he’s trying to go down this road even after Sage laid out for him exactly why this is a god-awful idea.

  • March 1st 2012 @ 8:32am
    Timmuh said | March 1st 2012 @ 8:32am | ! Report

    The biggest problem, as Adirna, pointed out now is one of perception. Clubs falling over in consecutive seasons is reminiscent of the demise of the NSL. While those inside the game can surely point to numerous differences, and the A-League has been at a level above the NSL in many respects, this is not a good look. Some of us who primarily follow other sports but have an interest in Association Football will quite probably turn off after such failures. It obviously has a big impact on likely TV rights, due to both having one less game per week if it becomes a 9 team league and also because public sentiment about the league will quite possibly go into rapid decline.
    A Western Sydney team, or any other start-up, would be hard to put together in the time available for 2012/13 but surely a second team in Sydney is the obvious replacement. Or a new structure for reviatalising GCU without Palmer. That might require serious words with the Qld government, itself heading to an election and likely change of government, regarding some of the tax issues which Palmer claimed to be the cause of the crowd-cap, and a lowering of ground rental (less money is surely better than no money for the managing authority). This would probably be the best option for having a 10 team 2012/13 league, but if Western Sydney becomes the 11th team where would a 12th come from without going to the regions? 3 teams in Sydney? Pure population numbers suggest that could be possible, the difficulty finding funds for a second team strongly suggets otherwise.

    With Nth Qld and now seeming GCU gone, any thought of expanding into other regional areas (Canberra and Hobart are regional despite being capitals) will surely not even be considered. That is despite Central Coast seemingly doing alright.

    • March 1st 2012 @ 1:15pm
      Paul said | March 1st 2012 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

      I wouldn’t worry too much about the perceptions of the comp. Rusted-on supporters of clubs like Victory, Roar, Jets, Mariners etc will still turn up to cheer on their team.

      • March 1st 2012 @ 1:42pm
        Timmuh said | March 1st 2012 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

        Rusated on supporters certainly will, even existing but not rusted on suporters of other clubs. But if the perception drops it does make it a more difficult sale to sponsors, and to those of us who mostly follow other codes but have an interest in Association Football as well, and as a result to networks, whether pay or FTA. In the longer run, perhaps it will leave 8 to 10 stable teams to build from again at a later date, but for the moment it has a credibility risk that is greater for this sport than some others due to its history of failed competitions. At a time when the game should be building into the next TV deal, and pushing to become a true major player within Australia things like clubs going bust in consecutive years do not play well with the media, the corporates, or the public outside the rusted-on football family.
        Its not a gloom and doom thing for the game, but it will be told that way and it is a big setback if the Gold Coast does indeed become lost. But its a setback, not the end of the A-League.

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