Gold Coast 'dismiss' Bleiberg

February 19, 2012

Gold Coast United have officially sacked coach Miron Bleiberg after falling out with the A-League club following the appointment of teenager Mitch Cooper as captain.

The future of United's foundation coach was up in the air after he was suspended by the club's billionaire owner Clive Palmer for last Friday night's clash with Melbourne Heart.

Palmer felt Bleiberg publicly belittled the owner's bizarre decision to appoint 17-year-old debutant Mitch Cooper as stand-in skipper for United.

Bleiberg said in newspaper reports on Monday that he would not return because he felt "disrespected" by Palmer and that the owner had taken his dignity away.

"No resignation letter was received by the club but given comments made in the media over recent days the club have dismissed Miron from his position as head coach effective immediately," United CEO Clive Mensink said.

"We were scheduled to have lunch today but given his comments it was clear Miron wasn't going to come back so on that basis the club thought it was fair enough to say Miron was no longer officially involved.

"I would like to thank Miron for his excellent service for the club - we obviously had some memorable moments together."

Assistant Mike Mulvey will replace Bleiberg for the rest of the season.

Meanwhile, Mensink played down concerns for the club's future after Palmer's relationship with Football Federation Australia (FFA) appeared untenable following his weekend comments.

Palmer was criticised by the FFA for describing the A-League as a "joke" and his club as "insignificant".

The billionaire owner described soccer as a "hopeless game" and dared the FFA to strip him of Gold Coast's licence.

"He has clarified those quotes - they have obviously been taken out of context," Mensink said.

Asked if he expected Gold Coast United to remain in the competition, Mensink said: "As I stand here today that's the idea.

"Nothing has changed but obviously there has been a bit of a disruption - that's it."