FFA revoke Jets licence citing 'deplorable' treatment of players

Football Federation Australia (FFA) has assured Jets fans a Newcastle club will remain in the A-League despite revoking the licence of the Nathan Tinkler owned operation. 

FFA announced today the immediate termination of the licence held by Tinkler’s Football Operations Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of the Hunter Sports Group (HSG).

The governing body slammed HSG for the “deplorable” treatment of players and staff - owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid wages - and the failure to meet basic operational requirements.

A licence will be issued to a new entity owned and controlled by FFA with current players of the Jets will be offered contracts with the new entity.

FFA CEO David Gallop said HSG had been given every opportunity to continue as the owner and operator of the licence, but failed to meet its responsibilities.

“FFA has taken this action to protect the interests of the football community in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley, and to safeguard the image and reputation of the A-League and its member clubs,” Gallop said.

“Newcastle needs a club operating in a stable environment with certainty of resources in order to be successful and competitive in the A-League and to properly represent the community. HSG has proved to be incapable of meeting these requirements.

“HSG has behaved in a deplorable way towards the players and staff of the club in failing to meet basic obligations to pay wages. Anyone who takes control of a sporting club has an obligation to respect the people and the traditions of that club.

“HSG has failed miserably to in this regard. Today’s action to terminate the licence is the first step to restoring the proud traditions of football in Northern NSW.”

In a season of turmoil the Jets gutted their backroom staff, took an axe to the playing roster, offloaded experienced players and finished bottom of the A-League ladder.

Tinkler was given until 4pm on Wednesday to pay the wages of players and staff or risk losing the licence.

Just hours before the deadline the former coal baron announced he had placed the club into voluntary administration.

He said Dundee United was ready to buy the Jets for less than $5 million, a sum that would cover the club’s estimated $2.7 million in debts.

But the FFA said placing the club in administration was in itself was an act of insolvency and “a breach of the A-League licence conditions”.

While Gallop made no mention of the Scottish club’s interes , he said FFA would continue talks with several parties interested in the future ownership structure of a Newcastle club.

“First of all, we will listen to all the key stakeholders in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley,” Gallop said.

“This region has incredibly strong community values and any future ownership needs to have people at the heart of things.

“That’s a core value for football in Australia and something we are very committed to in relation to the A-League club in Newcastle.”