Gold Coast kicked out of league
Football Federation Australia Wednesday kicked Gold Coast United out
of the A-League after a furious row with the club's owner, billionaire
mining magnate Clive Palmer.
The decision, which will take effect from the end of the season,
followed a recent outburst when Palmer labelled the league "a joke" and
his club as "insignificant".
Fellow billionaire and Australian soccer chief Frank Lowy attacked
Palmer for his "illogical, confused and damaging" comments while
slamming the team for wearing jerseys that said "Freedom of Speech"
during their last game.
Lowy, who has been chairman of shopping centre giant Westfield for 50
years and has a Aus$4.98 billion fortune -- marginally less than
Palmer's -- said he was left with no alternative but to terminate the
Gold Coast licence.
It will leave the A-League with just nine teams.
"As custodians of the game, we had to act to protect the integrity of
the Hyundai A-League on behalf of the other nine clubs, players, coaches
and most importantly, the fans," he said. Gold Coast, bottom of the
domestic competition, had its licence taken away due to contraventions
of FFA policies, deliberate defiance of an FFA direction and repeated
public statements that brought the game into disrepute. Lowy said he
made repeated attempts Wednesday to talk directly with Palmer about a
smooth completion of the season for the sake of the other teams, but
they went unanswered. AFP