Football Federation Australia CEO Ben Buckley has defended the decision to set up a Hyundai A-League side on the Gold Coast.
Football Federation Australia CEO Ben Buckley has defended the decision to set up a Hyundai A-League side on the Gold Coast as doubts continue to linger over the future of the club.
Gold Coast United owner Clive Palmer angrily hit out at Buckley's leadership on Monday after a tumultuous past week for his club.
Despite North Queensland Fury folding at the end of last season and Gold Coast United's future up in the air, Buckley said the FFA were learning from their mistakes.
"I don't accept that (expansion's been) a disaster. I think we're seven years into a long, rich, proud history, which will be told the story of the evolution of the A-League, the true evolution, will be told in 10-20 years time," he said on The World Game on Monday night.
"We're going to have hiccups on the way - we've had some - they've been very public, I take absolute responsibility for the decisions and the outcomes. No-one shirks away from that. We have great ambitions for (a club in) west Sydney."
Gold Coast United have been criticised for failing to engage with the local community, but Buckley said the crowd which turned out for their clash against Central Coast Mariners in December 2010 - when the gates were thrown open for free - showed they had an audience.
"I think at the end of the day it's about depth of the engagement with the local community. We have seen some wonderful signs, early days, there were some very, very positive crowds when they had a free venue day, the tickets went off the system extraordinarily quickly," Buckley said.
"Admittedly it was free, I give you that, but it was a good way of testing the audience and there certainly was an audience there.
"Where has it gone wrong? I think there'll be some commentary about that over the next few weeks.
"Our focus is on making sure the season is played with integrity, with fairness; make sure we have a great conclusion to a fantastic season and then we evaluate our options from there."
Earlier, Gold Coast owner Clive Palmer defended suggestions he had no interest in the game and described his club as highly successful.
"As far as running our club, we've paid all our creditors, we have plenty of money, I have plenty of money and we see our club as very successful," Palmer said.
"Our club has had no crisis, that's a fabrication, we've paid all of our bills, there's nothing wrong with our club."
"I regard it as a great success to see how our youth team virtually held Melbourne Heart to a standstill (on Friday). We've had the youngest captain in the A-League (Mitch Cooper) standing toe-to-toe with Fred of Melbourne Heart and he did a very credible job."