The business consortium bidding to save Gold Coast United in the A-League has accused Football Federation Australia of stringing them along.
Local businessman and mayoral candidate Tom Tate expressed his disappointment that his syndicate has been overlooked by FFA in favour of a new A-League team in Western Sydney.
There will now be four NSW A-League franchises and just one in Queensland.
“We were transparent about our model and we put it together in just two weeks. Do I feel like we’ve been strung along? A bit like that, yes,” Tate said.
“I would have thought if they were considering our bid seriously then Western Sydney would have been put on hold. Western Sydney can’t just be born overnight, so it’s obvious to me that our bid wasn’t taken seriously. They never came back to us and said we like your offer, but can you expand on this point or that point?
“Our motive to save the club was pure. It was simply to keep professional football on the Gold Coast. We were never told what hurdles we needed to jump over in order to get the licence.
“I feel that the commitment from FFA for professional football to remain on the Gold Coast was not there.
“It appears to me that this is not solely about the game itself. It’s about egos that exist at the highest levels of FFA and that’s why we couldn’t save Gold Coast United.”
Spokesman for the supporters arm of the consortium, Nathan Mulhearn, added his dismay, saying he was equally disappointed with the process.
“We’re not shocked at the outcome, but we’re shocked at the lack of decency shown to us. They didn’t even let us know and kept stringing us along. We finally got a phone call from FFA this morning (Wednesday) to tell us they would be announcing Western Sydney today,” Mulhearn said.
“You think when you’re involved in these situations, rather than looking in from the outside, that things would be done a little bit differently to what you imagine. FFA clearly haven’t learned from their mistakes (with North Queensland Fury) and you have to ask, are they going to?
“Western Sydney should be the 12th or 14th team, not the 10th.”
A saddened Mulhearn lamented FFA’s 2011-12 season tagline of ‘We Are Football’.
“Obviously we’re not, are we? The Gold Coast mustn’t be part of that mantra. Perhaps our slogan should be ‘we were football, but we’re not anymore’, apparently,” said Mulhearn.