FRANK Lowy has declared war on Gold Coast United and its owner Clive Palmer in a televised speech to business in Melbourne, branding the club a "spectacular failure".
Addressing Melbourne Heart's business lunch, Lowy took the chance to hit back at the growing critics within and around the A-League.
"They are wasting their time to try to pressure me by creating sensational headlines," he said. "Shouting at the FFA through the media will not work.
"When someone says outrageous and controversial things headlines will follow.
"And with each passing day it seems the statements emanating from the Gold Coast are more illogical, more confusing and ever more damaging to our game.
"But I am surprised when these ramblings are taken seriously and given credence and picked up by others."
He insisted he had tried to meet Palmer but his offer was snubbed.
"I called him, I emailed him, I was prepared to fly to Brisbane, I even sent him an SMS...what did I get? The brush off," he revealed.
He ruled out any prospect of a new A-League body, adding: "The idea of a separate body to run the A-League is madness. The A-League could not survive if separated from the FFA.
"FFA has spent nearly $250m on behalf of the league - $30m per annum for the past seven years plus set up costs.
"FFA currently subsidises the A-league from other FFA revenue by approximately $8 to 10 million a year.
"But it cannot do everything and be all things to all clubs in all situations. FFA is not a bank. It can’t always be there to bail out clubs that haven’t played their role."
He harked back to the days of the National Soccer League which sparked the Crawford Report which was the catalyst for the creation of the A-League.
"Football was dead and buried," said Lowy. "We had to start from scratch.
"The board was determined to create a structure that would not be vulnerable to the factional politics and sectional interests that characterised the previous regime.
"Remember how the previous regime left football... we had to demonstrate to the government, broadcasters, sponsors and fans that football had learned its lessons of the past.
"We all have a role to play in this sport. The FFA's role is to execute the strategy determined by the independent board which is elected by the state federations and the clubs.
"The club's role is defined by the terms and conditions each club has signed upon joining the competition.
"Fundamentally, the role of clubs is to field their team, they must provide a professional and dedicated administration to support the team - and most importantly, to bring a strong supporter base.
"Most clubs have these ingredients or at least are well underway to achieving them."
But he added: "I don't think most independent, fair-minded people can say the same about Gold Coast, especially what has been said in the past few weeks.
"The disrespect shown to the game and the fans and the players has been breathtaking, and I am at a loss to understand the motive behind it all.
"Either a club owner believes in the game and wants his investment to pay off in the long run or he doesn't.
"There has been a spectacular failure to connect with the local community to get fans to turn out to the game despite the fact the club serves possibly most the vibrant region in the country.
"Getting crowds through the gate is what will solve the problems, not arguing about who controls what."
He said the new yet-to-be-negotiated TV deal would hopefully cover the cost of the salary cap at each club to ease the burden on owners.
But he also hit out at Newcastle Jets owner Nathan Tinkler for his complaints about the cost of buying the Hunter club in 2010.
"Before the current owners arrived, Newcastle was an established club with a tradition, proud history and a strong supporter base, " said Lowy.
"It was obviously a club with huge potential providing it could attract a committed owner and professional manager.
"The FFA invested substantial funds to sustain the club prior to the new owner arriving. A commercial agreement has been reached between the FFA and the new owner to reflect these facts.
"It was not a licence fee of the kind owners must pay in the first place but a purchase price for what was a going concern.
"I concluded the final negotiations with Mr Tinkler in my office. There was no pressure and it was a commercial arrangement that we both agreed to.
"And what happened to the money? It was ploughed back into the game to offset the considerable sums FFA had to spend to save Newcastle and clubs like Brisbane, Adelaide, both of which had to be helped by FFA financially, and with management.
"Without that support, the clubs would have gone under."
He also revealed: "It is worth noting the current owners of Brisbane paid a higher price than the new owners of Newcastle because it reflected the higher standing and potential of Brisbane Roar.
"So where is the crime here?"
He added: "Club competition must be at the absolute centre of any plan to realise the full potential of our game.
"Clubs are our lifeblood. They provide the pathway, they create the supporters' base, they provide the passion. Without healthy sustainable clubs, football will go nowhere.
"I need to let some people out there know they are wasting their time trying to pressure me or FFA by making sensational claims that generate headlines.
"I get upset by the headlines but it doesn't distract me from my main goal. I have been around a long time and I don't react to media criticism from people who don't know what they are talking about.
"It is not productive, and it is a distraction. I will always be able to talk calmly and rationally to people if they have constructive ideas or suggestions."
Lowy said he had begun a tour of club CEOs to discuss the A-League's futures before the recent controversies blew up and had already had productive talks, despite some disagreements.
But Palmer had ignored his pleas and had instead gone to the media.
"Once you start talking through the media, you lose the opportunity for meaningful discussion," said Lowy.
"I have no interest in engaging in a public slanging match, and I have no desire to get involved in litigation. It has always been my practice to try to resolve things by discussion.
"Litigation should always be the last resort. We need to move forward, and this issue needs to be resolved as soon as possible for the good of the game.
"The nonsense that football fans have had to endure these past couple of weeks has masked the fact that we have a great story to tell. Football is in a good place right with a bright future.
"Ignore the headlines and look at the trend lines. Bigger crowds, bigger TV audiences, more club members and greater matches to watch.
"That is our future and that is what we all want."