FORMER Gold Coast United owner Clive Palmer has called on the federal government to investigate Football Federation Australia following the decision to terminate the club.
Palmer said the announcement by FFA chief Frank Lowy was outrageous and he foreshadowed a legal challenge to the decision because Gold Coast United had not even been accorded a fair hearing.
“Gold Coast United has been denied natural justice and we are prepared to go to the highest court in the country to challenge this ludicrous decision,” he said.
“We have no intention of deserting our players and supporters.”
Mr Palmer said the FFA had based much of its reasons to revoke the licence around its opposition to Gold Coast United last weekend using ‘Freedom of Speech’ signage at its home ground Skilled Park and on its jerseys.
“The message has been used in place of Hyatt branding as we are in a legal dispute with that company and I can’t see anything wrong with such a simple but meaningful statement such as the right to freedom of speech,” he said.
Palmer said he held Lowy in the highest regard but he had led an incompetent and overpaid FFA administration.
“Frank Lowy is an institution in Australian sport but judging by this decision he might be visiting a different kind of institution,” he said.
“He has brought the game into disrepute. The sport should not be run by dictators like him.”
“The FFA is heavily subsidised by government yet its executives are some of the highest paid people in Australian sport,” he said.
“Why is the FFA Chief Executive Ben Buckley paid around double the salary of his National Rugby League counterpart David Gallop?
“The government should be asking serious questions about the operations of the FFA.
“Football is the world game and the sport has one of the highest participation levels in Australia and a strong following nationwide.
“Yet as Warwick Smith’s report points out, A-League clubs including Gold Coast United are losing a combined total of more than $20 million a season.
“Why are clubs losing money when the sports administrators are among the highest paid in the land? Why does the FFA keep so much of the revenue generated from the sport?
“Whoever replaces Mark Arbib as Sports Minister should be looking at this as should Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott.”