Palmer’s rebellion threatens A-League’s “bright future”

Mike Tuckerman Columnist

By Mike Tuckerman, Mike Tuckerman is a Roar Expert

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    Clive Palmer has wrought destruction on his own club (AAP Image/Laine Clark)

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    The A-League was supposed to bring stability to Australia’s domestic football scene. On that front it has failed. Seven years into the competition’s history, the A-League’s future looks rocky.

    First things first: Football Federation Australia should have waited until the end of the season to revoke Clive Palmer’s licence.

    By taking the licence from him with four games of the regular season remaining, the FFA invited Palmer to respond at a critical juncture of the season.

    That he has threatened legal action comes as no surprise. That he has established “Football Australia” – whatever it is supposed to entail – comes as more of a shock.

    “The FFA has lurched from one disaster to another and needs to be replaced,” Palmer said in regard to the launch of what many are labelling a rebel league.

    “The fans, players and people with a passion for football in Australia deserve better and Football Australia will be based on full transparency and corporate governance.”

    Whether that means Palmer will actually set up a rival league is unclear. Contradicting statements suggested Football Australia is intended to be an independent watchdog.

    FFA’s response was predictably terse.

    “Once again an array of unsubstantiated claims and wild commentary have been made by Clive Palmer.

    “The comments serve no purpose in any way to advance football in Australia,” they said in a press release, labelling Palmer’s antics a “farcical outburst.”

    Sadly, some of what Palmer says makes sense – the “sadness” deriving from the fact he’s the wrong man to instigate change.

    Let’s not forget this is an owner who has overseen the worst performing club in the league both on and off the pitch this season.

    Yet the establishment of Football Australia will have the FFA worried on three fronts.

    Firstly, they’ll face a court battle over revoking Palmer’s licence.

    Secondly, the Asian Football Confedeation will be keeping a close eye on proceedings. Indeed, they’ve already released a statement saying they recognise only the FFA.

    “According to the AFC Statutes, only one national association shall be officially recognised in each country by the AFC. Accordingly, the AFC will only recognise and deal with FFA on all football matters concerning Australia,” the AFC said.

    And when the AFC get involved, we can be certain FIFA won’t be too far behind.

    Palmer’s reaction to the revocation of his licence was predictable, but the impact would have been lessened had the FFA waited until the conclusion of the season to act.

    That Frank Lowy saw the day of a World Cup qualifier as the best time to do so smacks of one-hard nosed billionaire desperately trying to one-up another.

    And far from having the best interests of football at heart, Palmer appears just as hellbent on getting the better of Lowy.

    The FFA have one more problem as far as billionaires are concerned, with Newcastle Jets’ owner Nathan Tinkler reportedly fuming about the cost of his licence fee.

    If Tinkler decides to get on board with Palmer’s “revolution,” the FFA will soon be staring down the challenge of not one, but two of Australia’s richest men.

    Tinkler has clout, and not just in a financial sense.

    Just under 30,000 fans turned out in the rain last night to watch the Newcastle Knights go around against St George Illawarra in the NRL, and you can bet most of those fans care more about watching a winning team than who administers their league.

    With Tinkler also in charge of the Jets and the city of Newcastle in the thralls of his power, any potential Palmer-Tinkler axis poses a real problem for the FFA.

    This whole affair is a nightmare for the powers that be and it could have been avoided with better handling of the figures involved in the first place.

    Hindsight may be 20/20, but further mismanagement from the FFA will threaten what Frank Lowy termed just two days ago the A-League’s “bright future.”

    Mike Tuckerman
    Mike Tuckerman

    Mike Tuckerman is a Sydney-born journalist and lifelong football fan. After lengthy stints watching the beautiful game in Germany and Japan, he settled in Brisbane, and has been a leading Roar football columnist from December 2008.

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    The Crowd Says (76)

    • March 2nd 2012 @ 7:40am
      Bondy said | March 2nd 2012 @ 7:40am | ! Report

      Has Clive Palmer ever thought of the young players in all of this , and he’s behaviour as a very wealthy adult, what has Clive illustrated to these young men playing for the Gold Coast .

    • March 2nd 2012 @ 7:54am
      Midfielder said | March 2nd 2012 @ 7:54am | ! Report

      Interesting article from Wayne Swan about the wealth of our miners …. very apt pertaining to recent events…

      Part of the article reads … [also CP is mentioned in the article]..

      Mr Swan said 99 per cent of business people wanted what was best for the country but a small minority used their ”considerable wealth to oppose good public policy and economic reforms designed to benefit the majority”.

      • March 2nd 2012 @ 9:16am
        AGO74 said | March 2nd 2012 @ 9:16am | ! Report

        whether you like swan or not (and most of the country doesn’t) it is very hard to argue against swan on this point. the palmer saga with ffa is but one exampleof this.

        • March 2nd 2012 @ 11:27am
          JamesP said | March 2nd 2012 @ 11:27am | ! Report

          I’ve got a lot of time for Swan. Unlike Costello who presided over global boom economic times, Swan’s done a darn good job keeping this economy in growth mode over the past 4 1/2 years

        • March 2nd 2012 @ 11:38am
          Nathan of Perth said | March 2nd 2012 @ 11:38am | ! Report

          I have an extremely low opinion of Swan but he gets a tick from me for that speech.

      • Roar Guru

        March 2nd 2012 @ 9:42am
        The Cattery said | March 2nd 2012 @ 9:42am | ! Report

        Swan couldn’t have timed his speech better.

        • March 2nd 2012 @ 11:49am
          jbinnie said | March 2nd 2012 @ 11:49am | ! Report

          Cattery, would you and others of the same ilk keep Federal politics and politicians well out of football blogs. Swan’s speech?. You may not be aware of it but Australia’s national debt to various borrowing agencies is fast approaching $200 billion and in a 20 year loan period the money required to clear that debt ,at around 5% interest,amounts to a figure of $14/week for EVERY man woman and child in Australia for those 20 years. Where will that money come from?,right out of your pocket and the pockets of anyone reading this, Figure source,the well known financial guru Ross Greenwood.Now we could cut politicians salaries,expenses,pensions etc back to the level of the working class man (where the Labour “correct spelling” movement began) and that would be a huge start in reducing that debt .
          We have enough problems in football without introducing that volume of problem,agree????? jb

          • Roar Guru

            March 2nd 2012 @ 1:44pm
            The Cattery said | March 2nd 2012 @ 1:44pm | ! Report

            It’s true that this Government has created a debt problem in double quick time, when previously there was not one – but Labor wouldn’t be Labor if it didn’t increase debt – that’s what Labor has always done best.

            I’m reminded of the Simpsons cartoon when the kids ask their grand dad: “but grand dad, didn’t you wonder why you were receiving this money?”

            And grand dad responds: ” I thought the Democrats were back in government”

            • March 2nd 2012 @ 8:59pm
              Titus said | March 2nd 2012 @ 8:59pm | ! Report

              Yeah, because the conservatives in America have managed their economy so much better than our Labor socialists, right?

              • March 2nd 2012 @ 10:54pm
                j binnie said | March 2nd 2012 @ 10:54pm | ! Report

                Titus In your undoubted talented way could you please explain to a wondering public how, whoever manages the American economy, has helped in turning a 48billion dollar surplus into a 200 billion debt as has been accomplished in a very short time in our great country.ONLY THING IS DON’T DO IT IN THIS SITE WRITE TO ROSS GREENWOOD AT MONEY MATTERS and debate the issue with him.. By the way at the same time you might ask him why the socialist party adopted Labor as a name instead of Labour (the working class party) when in fact it is the American spelling of the same word???????jb

              • March 2nd 2012 @ 11:45pm
                Titus said | March 2nd 2012 @ 11:45pm | ! Report

                Oh dear JB, you haven’t been listening to 2GB again have you?

                Look, Gov debt as a percentage of GDP is 11% roughly where it was in 2000. Not too bad given the financial crisis the globe has been in and the large stimulus spending that was required.

                You will not find another OECD nation that even comes close to those low levels, and you can thank our Government regulations for that.

                Besides, it is the levels of private debt that you should be more concerned about, and they rose sharpley under the Libs.

          • March 3rd 2012 @ 12:17am
            John Ryan said | March 3rd 2012 @ 12:17am | ! Report

            I would suggest you actually do some reading on where Australia stands on it so called Debt Problem as touted by Abbott and Co who cant add up, and 2GB jocks to whom truth is but a passing ship in the night

            • March 3rd 2012 @ 7:16am
              jbinnie said | March 3rd 2012 @ 7:16am | ! Report

              Titus &John. Neither of you read too well despite being so well versed in modern Australian and global economics.This is a football blog site and I did ask that it remains that way,a slight dig at my pal cattery who introduced Wayne Swan into an article of his. One question, Who or what is 2GB? As I also said (but you appear to have missed) the figures I quoted were published under the name of Ross Greenwood in a publication called Money Matters and as suggested I recommend if federal politics is your thing,debate it there with him. Me?,I have no debt, and am not in the least bit interested in Federal Politics except when I see my rates and taxes constantly climb higher and higher despite what you allege are our “good” time so which I assume must be to pay for someone’s excesses.jb
              PS In my working life I was a paid up member of the biggest union in the UK,worked in the coal mines,and was active in local politics so please don’t lecture to me on the origins of the Labour movement that has been replaced by a university educated organised party that has drifted away from those origins about as far as is imaginable.jb

    • March 2nd 2012 @ 8:15am
      toddm said | March 2nd 2012 @ 8:15am | ! Report

      i agree that palmers a nutter and there is going to be damage to the a-league brand but this also may show some of the FFA wanting and positive change may come from it all??

    • March 2nd 2012 @ 8:52am
      dasilva said | March 2nd 2012 @ 8:52am | ! Report

      I don’t think rebel league is an option and I doubt Tinkler and sage would support that.

      However, if this is just a lobby group or think thank and the media gives him space then I could forseee the likes of Tinkler supporting Football Australia.

      Essentially, they are going to publish alternative policy, criticise whatever FFA is doing etc. If they release alternative policy and then some A-league clubs back than policy, we could have a fight on our hands.

      We had Dominic Galati challenge Lowy before without support. What happens in the next election for the board of directors and Lowy term is up for re-election. Could we have a football Australia approved candidate that will contest the election that has some backing from some of the clubs.Unlike Galati this football australia backing candidate would actually contest the election with actual policy already written out by Football Australia

      You see, at he statements aren’t actually that contradictory. Just because there won’t be a rebel league doesn’t mean they aren’t trying to take over FFA.

    • March 2nd 2012 @ 9:07am
      tk said | March 2nd 2012 @ 9:07am | ! Report

      I agree the Ffa are culpable as well in this mess.

    • Roar Guru

      March 2nd 2012 @ 9:12am
      Fussball ist unser leben said | March 2nd 2012 @ 9:12am | ! Report

      I’ve always enjoyed listening to the views of AUFC Chairman & part owner, Greg Griffin.

      Here is Greg Griffin’s reaction to Clive Palmer’s Football Australia Pty Ltd ..

      “I know nothing about it … It’s a complete nonsense and a waste of everyone’s time. It will fade as quickly as it has risen. What a stupid and mindless entity and not even the dumbest of dumb would take this entity seriously.”


      • March 2nd 2012 @ 9:24am
        Lucan said | March 2nd 2012 @ 9:24am | ! Report

        There’s plenty of opinions put forth for something he knows nothing about. HAHAHA

        If Griffin was smart his line would’ve been “I know nothing about it, so I’ll choose to not weigh into this discussion until I’m aware of the details”.

        • March 2nd 2012 @ 12:49pm
          Axelv said | March 2nd 2012 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

          I think Griffin is smart for seeing it as exactly what it is, and not having his head in the sand in denial thinking that Clive Palmer is some sort of Kerry Packer that will save and revolutionize football in this country.

          I am honestly concerned for Clive Palmer’s mental health, he seems to have lost it completely.

      • March 2nd 2012 @ 10:57pm
        j binnie said | March 2nd 2012 @ 10:57pm | ! Report

        Fussball – Hope you also read Peter Turnbull’s,(the chairman of CCM,) views on this whole sordid affair.It is extremely fair and unbiased and based on good common sense. jb

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