Brisbane Strikers are outraged after being robbed of the chance to win the Queensland National Premier League title in a controversial end to the regular home and away season.
Football Queensland (FQ) cancelled three remaining games, deferred from earlier in the season, handing the title to Moreton Bay United.
But insiders claim the games could still have been played, with Brisbane Strikers said to be privately seething at having missed out on their chance to stake a late challenge for glory.
Moreton Bay United will now go on to represent Queensland in the National Championship play-offs.
In a statement on their website, Strikers Chairman Bruce Atterton-Evans said the club is “gutted and destroyed” by FQ’s decision.
He added: “The decision for the premiership has been determined in an office instead of on the field where it should have been.
“Unfortunately, the season end is a culmination of some clubs’ self-manipulation of the fixture list to suit themselves and it is a disgrace that Football Queensland has allowed this to happen for the past two years.”
FQ refused to comment on speculation surrounding the cancellation of the crucial clashes.
Brisbane Strikers vs Northern Fury and SWQ Thunder v Moreton Bay United were the two title deciding games left to play. Both matches were rescheduled for last weekend but were washed out.
Strikers fan Declan Rooney was incredulous that his club had been robbed of a chance to win the title.
“It’s scandalous!” Rooney said.
“These fixtures could've been rescheduled. Maybe not simultaneously but at least both the Brisbane Strikers and Moreton Bay United could've and should've been given the chance to win the league on merit.”
Moreton Bay United and Brisbane Strikers were both on top of the QLD NPL ladder, with the former leading on goal difference.
But sources close to the clubs say Northern Fury sent FQ papers of forfeiture, meaning a 3-0 win to the Strikers.
The source said SWQ Thunder were willing and able to play this week – potentially a midweek game in Toowoomba – but not on the weekend as half the team was booked on an end of season trip to the United States.
Moreton Bay was asked to play midweek but didn't want to make the trip, the source said.
FQ cancelled both games making Moreton Bay complicit in how the season ended, although sources within the governing body deny that.
Chief Operating Officer for FQ, Graham Lee, admitted last week’s washout was the only attempt at playing the postponed games, originally scheduled for round four and eight.
Lee revealed that FQ did not make an official approach to Football Federation Australia to move the National Championships by a week to allow the outstanding matches to go ahead.
FQ will conduct an off-season review to uncover the circumstances that led to the controversial season end.
Lee said: “At the end of each season, we hold workshops and reviews of the competition to see what could be improved.
“We will definitely be looking at the root cause of what got us into this situation this year and making any rule changes that we deem necessary to prevent this happening again.”