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Sorry Tinkler says A-League doomed to fail


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    Billionaire owner Nathan Tinkler has apologised to Newcastle Jets fans, players and staff for plans to walk away from the club but insists the A-League is doomed to fail.

    Tinkler’s Hunter Sports Group rocked the competition on Tuesday by announcing it would hand back its A-League licence for the Jets due to “irreconcilable” differences with Football Federation Australia.

    The matter appears headed for an expansive court battle, with FFA insisting HSG has no legal grounds to hand back a licence it holds until 2020.

    Tinkler says he feels for those involved with the club but insists he had no choice after being “fobbed off” by FFA over several issues, including why the club was charged a reported $5 million to acquire the team’s licence.

    “I feel as though we have let them (fans, players and staff) down and I apologise for this,” Tinkler told News Ltd on Thursday.

    “However we were left with no choice by the FFA administration, which continues not to answer some pretty simple questions.

    “We ran out of patience after months of being fobbed off by the FFA administration.

    “They have not communicated the answers we have been seeking in regard to why we were charged a licence fee and commissions were paid, when other clubs were not charged a cent.”

    FFA have denied HSG were unfairly charged to acquire the team’s licence, saying the fees were fair, given the club was already up and running, and decided upon after a negotiation process.

    But Tinkler, who also owns the Newcastle Knights NRL team, also has serious issues with the game’s administration and believes the A-League is destined to fail in Australia.

    “Rugby League is an established product, which evolved through the Super League war to become the outstanding product it is today,” Tinkler said.

    “Soccer has an ownership model of established losses, a failure by the FFA to engage with communities and no sound commercial basis for its business relationships.

    “These have combined to guarantee the A-League’s failure in Australia.

    “While the A-League is funded by the club’s owners, they receive no input into the direction or governance of the game in Australia or the competition.

    “That is a very different proposition to the NRL.

    “A-League owners are 100 per cent accountable with absolutely no input into their own competition.

    “It must change before more clubs are lost.”

    Tinker’s comments came despite FFA’s recent formation of the joint A-League Strategic Committee which will allow club owners to have a greater input in the governance of the game.

    FFA is reportedly preparing a lawsuit against HSG and could seek damages of more than $50 million, in a pursuit that could enjoin HSG, the Jets, the Knights and both Tinkler and HSG chief executive Troy Palmer.

    Despite the possibility of the Knights becoming involved in the battle, Tinkler reassured his full commitment to the NRL club.

    “We have full confidence in the current administration of the game (NRL), unlike the FFA,” he said.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (28)

    • April 12th 2012 @ 11:14am
      pete4 said | April 12th 2012 @ 11:14am | ! Report

      Tinkler was very cowardly in all this couldn’t even get himself to face the Jets players to tell the news himself.

      Jets have 12 players still with contracts + coach next season and beyond. Culina still owed $1.6M by the end of next season too. James Brown signed from GCU what 4 weeks ago a 2 year deal. I doubt they’ll just walk away like HSG hope…

      • Roar Guru

        April 12th 2012 @ 11:18am
        The Cattery said | April 12th 2012 @ 11:18am | ! Report

        On that point, clearly one way or another, HSG will have to meet millions of dollars of payments, even without the FFA’s court action, but, does anyone know what HSG’s corporate structure looks like? Is it anything more than a shelf company?

        • April 12th 2012 @ 11:25am
          pete4 said | April 12th 2012 @ 11:25am | ! Report

          Appears Jets/Knights are joined at the hip…

          “Buckley declined to specifically name the Knights as a co-defendant, but left no doubt the FFA’s lawsuit would be all-encompassing, saying: ‘‘We will continue to pursue the Hunter Sports Group to meet their obligations but if they don’t, we reserve the right to take action. ‘That means we will pursue the company, any associated companies, as well as any directors. You can’t sign a contract and walk away from it. That’s simply not the way business is done”

          • Roar Guru

            April 12th 2012 @ 5:49pm
            The Cattery said | April 12th 2012 @ 5:49pm | ! Report

            ok, so the legal entity that owns both the Knights and Jets is HSG? Well, that makes things very, very difficult for Tinkler if he wanted to continue witih the Knights without worrying about the Jets!

            • April 13th 2012 @ 4:23am
              Axelv said | April 13th 2012 @ 4:23am | ! Report

              There appears to be a common factor here, James Brown is a club killer!!!! Let’s hope that Melbourne Heart sign him next! 😆

              But in all seriousness I think one way or another Newcastle Jets will be fine, they can’t die!

              • April 13th 2012 @ 6:14am
                Kasey said | April 13th 2012 @ 6:14am | ! Report

                at last night’s new WS club fan forum…
                To Newcastle supporters Lyall Gorman said this “Don’t be confused between public voice and reality. We will save the Jets”

    • April 12th 2012 @ 12:07pm
      Kasey said | April 12th 2012 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

      Wonks have been predicting the end of the HAL since day dot. The old bitters told us it would last 3 years tops; cos only the old soccer types had the knowledge to run football in this country. What’s it been now 7 years? Back to Tinkler’s comments, so who do we believe, a bloke like Greg Griffin(AU) “I’m absolutely confident with the game,” who has made his money using business acumen or a bloke like Tinkler who has lied to the people of Newcastle and has a history of spitting the dummy when he doesn’t get his own way who made his money getting lucky in a once in a lifetime resources boom? Ooh, tough choice.

      My money is on planning for an 8th year taking place right now for a HAL with 10 teams(WS & NJ involved) football has an innate bouncebackability. it will survive and so will the HAL.

      • April 12th 2012 @ 1:19pm
        Michael said | April 12th 2012 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

        +1 mate

      • April 12th 2012 @ 2:37pm
        Neil said | April 12th 2012 @ 2:37pm | ! Report

        Spot on cobber.

      • April 12th 2012 @ 4:15pm
        Tim said | April 12th 2012 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

        At the end of the day Tinkler got screwed, the ffa are hypocrites, they forced HSG to pay over the odds to pick up the Jets license, Buckley claiming due to the fact that it was a club with a lot of history behind it, so how come Greg Griffin who only moments earlier took over Adelaide didnt pay anyway near as much as Tinkler? one could argue that Adelqaide being acl finalists and an even richer football history would be an even more lucrative acquisition….why is this conveniently being ignored? its because of this that tinkler/hsg will take the ffa to the cleaners if this hits the courts, the ffa have been caught out making things up as they go, the “bitters”were right…this organisation is running the game to the ground.

        • April 12th 2012 @ 4:18pm
          pete4 said | April 12th 2012 @ 4:18pm | ! Report

          Tim – Bakrie Group paid $10M for Brisbane Roar, Wellnix Group paid $7M for Wellington. Far more than the $3.5M Tinkler paid for Newcastle

        • April 12th 2012 @ 4:59pm
          Titus said | April 12th 2012 @ 4:59pm | ! Report

          I don’t think it would be hard for Tinkler to get out of the licence, he just needs to break the conditions of the license and the FFA will be forced to take it back.

          However, the damage that Tinkler and Palmer have done by breaking the license, breaking contracts and the effect this has had on the value of the competition is large and I hope this is recognised by the courts when damages are sought against them.

          These guys are grubs and someone needs to put them in their place.

        • April 12th 2012 @ 5:07pm
          Kasey said | April 12th 2012 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

          If you think Tinkler got screwed, what do you think about the 10,000+ jets ticketed members? Due Diligence is the key. FFA sold and Tinkler bought. If he thought he was paying too much he should have said something when he voluntarily brought forward the contract to upgrade his provisional licence to the full 10 year jobbie.

          • April 12th 2012 @ 5:17pm
            Tim said | April 12th 2012 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

            Tinkler would have thought that an acquisition fee would have been the same for all clubs, surely someone thats willing to invest in the league has to have that trust in the organisation he is dealing with?

            This all comes back to Buckley, always quick to explain why the Jets had to pay over the odds, yet to explain the Adelaide situation….we wants answers Ben!

            • April 12th 2012 @ 5:22pm
              Titus said | April 12th 2012 @ 5:22pm | ! Report

              Well from what I can tell he payed less than most, apart from those who started the clubs from scratch.

              He has no ground to stand on there.

    • April 12th 2012 @ 5:05pm
      pete4 said | April 12th 2012 @ 5:05pm | ! Report

      More news today Fox Soccer extending it’s deal showing the A-League in the US. Anyone know how much this is worth??

      Fox Soccer renews Hyundai A-League exclusive media rights in USA

      • Roar Guru

        April 12th 2012 @ 5:17pm
        The_Wookie said | April 12th 2012 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

        Ive wondered recently whether they get a package deal from foxtel as they cover 2 games a week of the AFL and NRL (plus finals) on fox soccer plus.

        • April 12th 2012 @ 7:43pm
          pete4 said | April 12th 2012 @ 7:43pm | ! Report

          Wookie – I have actually wondered if the AFL is broadcast in any other country? (Serious question)

          I know they where speaking about expansion to South Africa at one stage? Do they get games there?

      • April 12th 2012 @ 7:45pm
        Maughan said | April 12th 2012 @ 7:45pm | ! Report

        They often pay relatively little for such rights. They make a handy daytime filler.

    • April 12th 2012 @ 6:08pm
      Paul said | April 12th 2012 @ 6:08pm | ! Report

      I think this just shows:
      – Lack of maturity of Nathan Tinkler
      – Lack of attention by FFA to the concerns of owners.

      Pity the Novocastrians and the whole football community from Port Stephens to Muswellbrook.

    • April 12th 2012 @ 7:18pm
      jamesb said | April 12th 2012 @ 7:18pm | ! Report

      “- Lack of maturity of Nathan Tinkler
      – Lack of attention by FFA to the concerns of owners”

      also add lack of communication

      • April 12th 2012 @ 7:38pm
        Titus said | April 12th 2012 @ 7:38pm | ! Report

        FFA have done alot wrong, and justifiably have a lot of critics, but everything they do is because they want the best for the game. The game has been besieged by many problems for a long time and they face a lot of difficulty in bringing the game into the mainstream without the revenue/resources.

        Palmer and Tinkler dabbled in the world game, got bored, tried to bring the whole thing down.

        • April 12th 2012 @ 8:07pm
          jamesb said | April 12th 2012 @ 8:07pm | ! Report


          your spot on the money

    • April 12th 2012 @ 7:34pm
      jamesb said | April 12th 2012 @ 7:34pm | ! Report

      Hey guys do you reckon the mining tax is taking a bite in the mining magnates wealth of Palmer, tinkler and Sage?

      Maybe it explains why all three want out of the A-league if Sage wants to join the exit door as well.

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