Palmer hits back at FFA over licence loss

February 28, 2012

Furious Gold Coast United owner Clive Palmer has called on the federal government to investigate the administration of Football Federation Australia following its decision to revoke his club's A-League licence.

Palmer described the decision announced by FFA chairman Frank Lowy on Wednesday as "outrageous" and confirmed he would challenge it in court.

"Gold Coast United has been denied natural justice and we are prepared to go to the highest court in the country to challenge this ludicrous decision," Palmer said in a statement released on Wednesday afternoon.

"We have no intention of deserting our players and supporters."

Lowy said earlier he had no alternative but to revoke the licence to protect the integrity of the competition following Palmer's "flagrant disregard" for A-League rules and disrespectful comments.

Palmer has continued to defy the FFA after the Gold Coast were issued with a breach notice for contravening a direction not to use "Freedom of Speech" logos on Skilled Park signage and their players' jerseys last weekend.

But Palmer again defended the move.

"The message has been used in place of Hyatt branding as we are in a legal dispute with that company and I can't see anything wrong with such a simple but meaningful statement such as the right to freedom of speech," Palmer said.

The statement said Palmer held Lowy in the highest regard, before the mining magnate described him as a "dictator" in charge of "an incompetent and overpaid FFA administration".

"Frank Lowy is an institution in Australian sport but, judging by this decision, he might be visiting a different kind of institution," Palmer said.

"He has brought the game into disrepute.

"The sport should not be run by dictators like him."

Palmer said the recent federal government review of football by Australian Sports Commission chief Warwick Smith failed to point out the biggest problem facing the code - its administration.

"The FFA is heavily subsidised by government yet its executives are some of the highest-paid people in Australian sport," Palmer said.

"Why is the FFA chief executive Ben Buckley paid around double the salary of his National Rugby League counterpart David Gallop?

"The government should be asking serious questions about the operations of the FFA.

"... Why are clubs losing money when the sports administrators are among the highest paid in the land? Why does the FFA keep so much of the revenue generated from the sport?

"Whoever replaces Mark Arbib as sports minister should be looking at this as should Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott."