The Clive Palmer Saga Boils Over Down Under After A-League Pulls His License

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Written By Chris Azzopardi

You remember Clive Palmer, don’t you? He’s the Gold Coast United owner who suddenly decided it would be a good idea to badmouth the sport of soccer in the press. But Clive wasn’t done, and now he’s got himself in a heap of trouble with the FFA, who just pulled his club’s license.

After his statements about soccer, Clive made sure to clear the air by claiming that he likes the sport, he just doesn’t like the way it’s run.

In a subsequent interview with SBS Television meant to further clarify his anti-soccer comments, Palmer stoked the fires of dissent in the A-League by letting slip that fellow owner Nathan Tinkler was charged ten times as much as Palmer to take over the Newcastle Jets. The Jets announced they were looking into legal options, and the FFA scrambled to explain the difference between a “license fee” and an “acquisition fee” (the latter making up the bulk of Tinkler’s payment, according to them).

Palmer wasn’t done, of course, because he’s a crazy man with a lot of money and a soapbox. After the FFA criticized Palmer’s statements as “offensive and disrespectful”, Palmer went on the attack. For his team’s match against Melbourne Victory in Gold Coast, the players wore shirt with “Freedom of Speech” in place of the club’s usual shirt sponsor Hyatt (with whom Palmer is embroiled in a legal dispute over money Palmer claims Hyatt siphoned from a golf resort he contracted with the hotelier to run), and the phrase showed up on advertising hoardings around Gold Coast United’s Skilled Park.

Gold Coast United claimed the message was not meant for the FFA at all, but was put on the shirts and hoardings–in light of the Hyatt-Palmer issues–to highlight the plight of refugees. Gold Coast United has two refugees on their roster.

Now Palmer’s license has been pulled by FFA chairman Frank Lowy. The club, currently in last place in the 10-team league, will finish out the season under the auspices of the federation. Palmer, naturally, intends to fight back and will speak to the press at 4PM AEST.

If Palmer’s statements are anything like those he made to The Australian Online, we’re in for quite an entertaining ride.

“I have the resources to go out and form a 10-team league of my own and maybe that’s what I will do. If Mr Lowy wants to take on my wealth against his, let’s bring it on.”

“We don’t know what the charge is and Frank Lowy has behaved like a dictator. This course of action should not be allowed to stand in Australia.

“Mr Lowy will have his day in court. He will be cross-examined. We’ll seek to have the FFA’s records opened up over the multi-million salaries of their top executives.

“Frank Lowy has started this fight and we will finish it.”

Even Dan Borislow would have to tip his cap.

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