Aussie tycoon sets up independent football body

01 March 2012 07:46

Billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer on Thursday formed a new independent organisation aimed at holding governing body Football Federation Australia to account for how it runs the game.

The move comes a day after Palmer's club Gold Coast United was kicked out of the domestic A-League by FFA chief and fellow tycoon Frank Lowy for contravening regulations.

Palmer said his organisation, Football Australia, had been registered with the Australian Investment and Securities Commission and was designed to ensure the game operated with "transparency and fairness".

Palmer has been critical of the way FFA is run and has lashed out at the salaries being paid to FFA executives while clubs lose money.

"They staged a hugely embarrassing (2022) World Cup bid which blew Aus$46 million of taxpayers' money for one vote, and they are running an A-League competition which is bleeding money from club owners," he said.

"The fans, players and people with a passion for football in Australia deserve better and Football Australia will be based on full transparency and corporate governance.

"We want to ensure there is fairness in the game for all stakeholders and end the dictatorship that the game has endured under the FFA."

At a press conference, Palmer said the organisation was not necessarily out to topple the FFA but would act as watchdog and forum for ideas in the sport.

"What does Football Australia plan to do?," he said.

"It plans to publish papers, hold press conferences, seek opinions, lobby the government, lobby the FFA for a better outcomes for a better outcome for Australians and the game in Australia."

Tensions had been building for weeks between Palmer and the FFA after he labelled the A-League "a joke" and Gold Coast club as "insignificant".

Lowy responded this week by attacking Palmer for his "illogical, confused and damaging" comments and slammed Gold Coast for wearing jerseys that said "Freedom of Speech" during their last game.

Palmer has hired former A-League chief Archie Fraser as Football Australia's chief executive.

Source: AFP