Canberra in, Newcastle Jets out?

ElijahAU Roar Rookie

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    All football fans in Australia have reacted to the recent events surrounding the possible demise of the Newcastle Jets with bitter disappointment.

    This is another kick in the guts from another mining fat cat who initially appeared as a saviour. The point of this article is not to re-analyse these events, but to propose the best possible course of action following them.

    Let me begin by clearly stating that Football Federation Australia should do everything in its power to keep the Newcastle Jets afloat. Newcastle is not Gold Coast United; it cannot be traded in for another team and that is not what this article is suggesting.

    However, the FFA and the football community in Australia must be prepared for the possibility of a 2012/13 season without Newcastle.

    This means turning to another bid with the best foundations so far and the ability to get a club up and running at the shortest possible notice, even at the “risk” of having an 11-team competition in 2012-13. A city with an existing W-League team and a NYL team (AIS) would be a perfect candidate.

    Hello, Canberra!

    The treatment of Canberra’s A-League bid by the FFA has disappointed most of the football community in Australia. This was a true grassroots bid with 2000 pledged financial members, multi-million dollar Territory Government funding and a cashed-up population crying out for more variety in entertainment in general, let alone in sporting teams.

    Instead, the FFA went and chased the big mining money like an unemployed engineer, establishing teams in North Queensland and Gold Coast and getting involved with Tinkler in Newcastle.

    Events over the past few years have shown the fallacy of this approach. What the A-League needs more than the big money of a few is the small money of many. Canberra’s lack of big money has been seen as a weakness by the FFA, but in reality its abundance of small money is its strength. Let’s not forget that the ACT has the highest average income in the country.

    Sure, a rich mining magnate owner can fund a club with no problems, but as we’ve seen with Clive Palmer, this doesn’t guarantee the future of the club.

    Canberra has a multicultural and even multinational population (due to the presence of embassies and countless international organisations) with a lot of money and not a lot of entertainment to spend it on.

    Although Canberra’s multicultural communities are not as large as in Melbourne or Sydney, there is a wider variety due to its nature as the capital city and political centre. Football is the world game and Australia’s centre of international relations should be home to a football team in our national league.

    It is time for the FFA to rectify its mistake in ignoring Canberra, re-take the initiative, and create more positive media coverage of the A-League.

    It should repay the good faith of the Canberra bid and its supporters and announce the entry of a Canberra team for the 2012-13 season, regardless of the outcome of the farce surrounding the Newcastle Jets.

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    The Crowd Says (11)

    • Roar Guru

      April 12th 2012 @ 11:15am
      The Cattery said | April 12th 2012 @ 11:15am | ! Report

      With the game currently at the risk of dropping to 9 teams, which happens to include a rushed second Sydney team, yet to be established, to all of a sudden think of jumping to 11 teams is verging on crazy talk.

      In any event, my gut feel is that this time next year, we may well be looking for another replacement 10th team, better to keep the powder dry till then.

    • April 12th 2012 @ 11:48am
      tom said | April 12th 2012 @ 11:48am | ! Report

      Having the option of the millions of Tinkler in Newcastle or the city of Canberra I would have chosen Tinkler even knowing what I know now. The FFA have blown it themselves – telling the owners to put up or shut is not the way to treat owners who ar investing a lot of money in these franchises. Even though Tinkler has a soft spot for rugby league, I reckon he would have no hesitation of pulling the financial plug on the knowhgts as well if the NRL didn’t engage him as well and make allowances for private ownership. The NRL are smart enough to know that its better then having no team at all.

      • April 12th 2012 @ 12:09pm
        Chop said | April 12th 2012 @ 12:09pm | ! Report


        You obviously weren’t part of the process down here if you don’t think Canberra was in a better position than North Qld or Gold Coast at the time they were admitted. It was about admitting more ‘glamourous’ locations.

        The FFA always wanted a second team in Sydney but no one could sort out finance or business plan to support it, so they took more cash from the federal gov’t and seemingly used some or all of the license fee from Newcastle Jets to fund a rival club.

        There was great excitement about the possibility of an A-League side down here with plenty of founding members signed up and putting the money where their mouth is.

        FFA should be held totally accountable for this debacle. Guys like Palmer and Tinkler are used to dealing with professionally run organisations in business. From the outside, it doesn’t look like the FFA could run the local chook raffle properly.

        • April 12th 2012 @ 1:02pm
          Chris said | April 12th 2012 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

          Um, there is a contract between the FFA and HSG to run until 2020. If the contract is breached by either party, that MAY be grounds for the further action, but you can’t just dump the licence because you didn’t do your due diligence before signing the contract. I don’t think the FFA has done anything wrong in this case (on the facts that have been presented publicly so far).

          What this proves to me is that football does not have the public AND corporate support necessary to break-even. Canberra might get bums on seats (although I’m not sure there’s a whole lot of evidence for that), but there’s nt much corporate opportunity down there after the Raiders and Brumbies have grabbed what they want.

          • April 12th 2012 @ 6:52pm
            Cugel said | April 12th 2012 @ 6:52pm | ! Report

            “Canberra might get bums on seats”

            Doubt it. 7-8k would be my guess.

    • April 12th 2012 @ 2:51pm
      David said | April 12th 2012 @ 2:51pm | ! Report

      If you look back at Palmer’s comments regarding Nathan Tinkler’s concerns (notably over the amount he had to stump up for the Jets’ licence as compared to GCU and others), this move by Tinkler was inevitable. Perhaps he just ran out of time to make denigrating comments regarding the FFA or put “illegal” logos on the Jets’ jerseys before the season was over. Palmer and Tinkler are, IMHO, rightly pi55ed off that Ben Buckley and his cohorts at FFA pay themselves millions of dollars whilst presiding over a league which is shipping millions of dollars AND apear immune to criticism (hence GCU’s expulsion). Palmer got exactly what he wanted – only one player had a contract for next season – in suckering the FFA to expel GCU and thereby prevent any further multi-million dollar losses next season and beyond. I reckon Tinkler is smart enough to find a way to achieve this end, too. Others may follow in due course unless FFA pull their collective heads out of the sand regarding the “success” of the beleagured A League.

    • April 12th 2012 @ 6:10pm
      Paul said | April 12th 2012 @ 6:10pm | ! Report


      Sheesh, why can’t we have both? However, I’m pretty sure there are more footballers in the Lower Hunter region than Canberra. So keep Newcastle, Canberra for the future…

    • April 12th 2012 @ 7:21pm
      Kath said | April 12th 2012 @ 7:21pm | ! Report

      Paul, Canberra has a very successful W league team who were premiers this year. Question though: If the Jets get kicked out, do the W league team fold as well?

    • Roar Pro

      April 12th 2012 @ 8:24pm
      crip said | April 12th 2012 @ 8:24pm | ! Report

      I’m waiting for a Canberra team. I just can’t get into the A-League otherwise. And please call them the Canberra Arrows – Original and cool.

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