Jets, Knights clash over stadium use

February 11, 2010
By Ian McCullough

Newcastle's two football clubs are in a legal battle over their shared use of EnergyAustralia Stadium.

The Jets have accused the Knights of trying to "disparage" their name and soccer in the NSW city after the NRL club lodged an application with the Supreme Court to wind up the A-League outfit.

The Knights claim the Jets, who sub-lease the stadium, owe them $300,000 and have suspended catering facilities for their tenants' final match of the regular A-League season against Adelaide United on Friday night.

The Knights said the debt relates to game-day costs, including corporate catering dating back to March 2009, and have been forced to take action to limit losses from the Jets using the ground.

However, in a statement released on Friday, the Jets hit back at the NRL club going public about the issue.

"We do not argue that there are monies owed heading into this evening's match," the statement said.

"However, it is critical to note that progressive payments have been made throughout the course of the season and we therefore lament that these public statements have been made on the day of our final home game of the season in a blatant attempt to disparage the Newcastle Jets and football in this city."

The Jets statement also said the issues between the two parties are long-standing and accused the Knights of refusing to discuss the matter "in a round a table manner".

"Financial offers to the Newcastle Knights have been made which would cover catering costs for this evening's match plus contributing to any arrears, however these offers were rejected," the statement continued.

"The Newcastle Jets club chairman (Con Constantine) requested to meet with the Knights recently to resolve the matter amicably, and suitably behind closed doors, only to be turned down."

The Jets also hit back at accusations that they have caused damages to the stadium and playing surface and said the poor state of the pitch, which is maintained by the NRL club, was the reason for a season-ending injury to Italian marquee signing Fabio Vignaroli.