Newcastle Jets fans are planning a protest rally.
Fair enough too. The disgruntled supporters of the A League club wil rally outside Hunter Stadium next Friday when the Knights play their NRL match with the Panthers, and they have plenty to complain about.
While the football itself has been excellent in comparison to the past, the off field issues facing the A-League and the Football Federation have reached crisis point.
Hunter Sports Group boss Nathan Tinkler this week handed back his A-League license for the Newcastle Jets, leaving the region without a team and the league in strife.
Tinkler cited irreconcilable differences with the FFA as the overriding reason for dumping the club. In other words he strongly disagrees with the direction of the game in the country.
“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.’
The recent controversy follows the demise of Gold Coast United, excluded from the league following a string of incidents.
The issue at hand seems to be the overall administration of the competition. The league is funded by the clubs owners, who despite their open wallets receive no input into the direction of the competition, or the game in Australia. The FFA has now formed the A League Strategic Committee to give the owners a voice, but with clubs folding and fingers being pointed, the move comes too late to do anything other than prolong the agony.
Tinkler revealed that he didn’t believe the five million dollar licence fee he was charged was being put to good use by the FFA, and it’s a reasonable proposition.
Instead of focusing on developing the game at a grassroots level, the FFA has just confirmed there will be another A-League team coming out of Western Sydney.
With the recent downfall of crowds and clubs across the league, one has to wonder whether this new club is doomed to fail as well.
Soccer boasts the highest junior participation rates in the country, despite having the poorest systems in place to encourage the development of the game. Moving to create a new club like Western Sydney at a time when clubs are folding due to money, or dissatisfaction in the administration, reeks of self-interest and desperation.