FFA rejects Hunter Sports Group Assertions

Football Federation Australia (FFA) has today rejected the assertions made by Hunter Sports Group (HSG) in relation to the Newcastle Jets Hyundai A-League licence.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) has today rejected the assertions made by Hunter Sports Group (HSG) in relation to the Newcastle Jets Hyundai A-League licence.

FFA has remained willing to enter formal negotiations and to receive a formal proposal from HSG in order to find a resolution in the best interests of the game in the Hunter Valley.

FFA CEO Ben Buckley reaffirmed this position with HSG CEO Troy Palmer earlier this week.

On Thursday, Mr Palmer informed Mr Buckley that a discussion between Mr Palmer and HSG chairman Nathan Tinkler was due to take place overnight, and that a proposal would be submitted to FFA by lunchtime today (20 April 2012).

No proposal has been submitted and no further contact has been made with FFA.

“HSG embarked on a unilateral breach of contract in the first instance and has given FFA no opportunity to have face to face meeting to take place,” said FFA CEO Ben Buckley.

“We are disappointed that no talks have taken place to resolve our differences. The people of Newcastle and the Hunter Valley, and the Jets- players, coaches and staff, have a right to feel betrayed by these actions.

“FFA reaffirms its position that it does not accept that HSG has the right to return the A-League licence.”

In response to HSG-s media statement today, FFA provides the following facts;

• No formal negotiations have taken place between FFA and HSG over a settlement of this matter since HSG unilateral announcement on 10 April 2012.

• FFA did not reject the alleged four-point compromise proposal listed by HSG in its media statement. The first time FFA was aware of the four-point proposal was when it received the HSG media statement today.

• FFA did not set a deadline of 5pm today (20 April 2012) for a formal response to FFA legal correspondence. In fact, HSG-s lawyers have repeatedly sought extensions of time to respond to FFA and that these requests have been granted, including an extension to close of business this Monday 23 April 2012. In relation to the four-point proposal published by HSG, two of the three substantial matters are subject to existing procedures.

“The Jason Culina matter is being heard by an independent arbitrator and it-s right and proper that the matter proceeds in this chamber without interference,” said Mr Buckley.

“The suggestion of a commercial review of the A-League is already a priority for the newly-established Joint A-League Strategic Committee, which is endorsed by the majority of A-League clubs. There-s no need for a $250,000 external review.

“That leaves one matter outstanding, which is the acquisition fee paid by HSG. We have an open offer to enter formal negotiations on this issue, but HSG has repeatedly declined to sit down around the table.”

FFA today reaffirms its commitment to the football community of the Hunter Valley.

“The region is too steeped in football tradition and passion not to be represented in the A-League,” said FFA CEO Ben Buckley.