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Rogue owner, high costs plague A-League

  • AP, Thursday, March 29, 2012 2:52 PM

Pro soccer in Australia is mired in problems and searching for a way out. Gold Coast United played the last four games under the administration of Football Federation Australia after billionaire owner Clive Palmer was stripped of his A-League license following a vocal campaign against organizers of the league, which is down to nine teams, a long way from the anticipated 14 by this stage.

As the league moves into the playoffs, many of its owners are disgruntled about its future.

Palmer was criticized by the FFA for his outspoken comments on the league and the game. His attacks on the high salaries and leadership of the FFA executives and the failure of the expansion program had some resonance. Coming on top of the general discontent with the millions of taxpayer dollars wasted on Australia’s failed bid to host the 2022 World Cup, Palmer’s stance generated plenty of calls for another billionaire, Frank Lowy, to stand down as FFA chairman.

FFA took steps to appease the owners by announcing that a “new governance structure for policy and strategic matters affecting the national competition” would involve three A-League club chairmen, two FFA directors and would be led by FFA deputy chairman Brian Schwartz.

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