NORTH Queensland Fury’s future appears bleaker after Frank Lowy hinted strongly the FFA would be against propping up the club next year.
The FFA Chairman stressed the governing body was opposed to funding Fury next season until significant funds from the local community were put on the table.
The club has till the end of the month to provide sufficient evidence of significant backing that will help them through next season and beyond.
The club had hoped to be funded by FFA for another year before their investment plan kicks in through their planned community ownership model.
While that model appears to have been well received, the FFA now want to see some cash and quickly. Otherwise it might be lights out by New Year’s Eve in Townsville.
“We will want to have a substantial sum of money that is required to run the team from Townsville – then we will look at what we can do,” Lowy said today.
Lowy added his call for local business to show their support – and show it now.
“This job is for the people of Townsville. We will assist them but we will not carry the Townsville team on our books. This is not what we are supposed to do.
“The money we have belongs to all of the clubs. We can’t just support one club. We don’t have any resources to do that. If there is to be a club in Townsville it’s up to the Townsville people. They’ve got to want it, and they’ve got to pay for it. We will assist but will not take the load on.”
FFA CEO Ben Buckley added he liked the community ownership model put forward by Fury – but reiterated the stance by Lowy about locals investing in Fury.
“We need to see a very strong commitment from the local community in terms of the team," he said. They came to us proposing a community based model which we think is a very good model conceptually. We support that model.
“We’ve gone back to them saying we need to see it capitalized in a certain time period before we can make our commitment to support the club.
“That decision needs to be made by the end of this year.”
Meanwhile, two more players - Chris Payne and Osama Malik - are to exit Dairy Farmers as other A-League clubs circle what is a quality young squad.
Two other stars - Isaka Cernak and Justin Pasfield - have already signed contracts elsewhere in the A-League for next season as the club’s future hangs in the balance.
In other news, Buckley added that he was up for the challenge of guiding the A-League in this post World Cup bid era saying he would accept a new contract with FFA.
“A lot has happened in the last few years that we can all be very proud of. And there are a lot of challenges over the course of the next one to five years to be addressed and I certainly want to be part of that team.
“And I certainly want to lead that team. I’m delighted that confidence has been affirmed by the management team.”
Buckley said an FFA team meeting on Monday morning affirmed the desire to roll the sleeves up and get on with the job of making football as strong as it can be in Australia.
“We want to work harder and more diligently to address some of the issues in front of us.”
Those issues include building attendances in the A-League, committing to community football at all levels of the game and and qualifying for Brazil 2014, which Buckley stressed was of prime importance.
And he confirmed a western Sydney franchise would happen either next year or in the 2012/13 season.
In other news from a wide-ranging press conference Lowy said that recent criticism of the bid by former Socceroos, including keeper Zeljko Kalac, Rale Rasic and Les Scheinflug were “below the belt”.
And recent comments by former A-League boss Archie Fraser were also dismissed with an unusually combative Lowy saying if Fraser was any good at his job, “he’d be sitting where Ben [Buckley] is right now.”