Palmer a monster of FFA's creation

ESPNSTAR columnist Jesse Fink believes Clive Palmer was justified in his rant at the Football Federation Australia.

Football News: Clive Palmer

Clive Palmer is no football man and has never claimed to be.

Remember, he's the corpulent gent who capped crowds at Skilled Park, the home ground of his struggling A-League franchise, Gold Coast United, to save on costs while simultaneously wanting to have a community club.

To connect with "mainstream" Australia, he thought it was a good idea to have a football version of rugby league's State of Origin. A suggestion that betrayed his lack of understanding of the game's tribalism.

But as someone who's pumped $18 million over three years into a failed club, he's well entitled to a gripe.

And that's what he delivered earlier this week with a series of extraordinary outbursts at Football Federation Australia and specifically its bumbling chief executive Ben Buckley and blink-and-you'll-miss-him chairman Frank Lowy.

Buckley was "probably too worried about protecting his own salary" to take him to court and Lowy was "just concerned with getting as much money as he can from people".

Too right. I say all power to Palmer.

It needs to be done and it needs to be done more often. The FFA has lost the confidence of its constituents.

Once held up as an example of corporate Australia's confidence in the A-League, Palmer is now its worst enemy. He's a monster of the FFA's own creation. Australian football's Frankenstein. An angry man with every right to unload on the body that has let down not just him but the wider "football family" of Australia.

There was much indignation over Palmer's original comment that he thought football was "hopeless" and that rival code rugby league was "much better".

But, in his defence, in the Australian context he's right.

The NRL is more exciting to watch, the game is better run, the crowds are getting more bang for their buck and owners are happier.

Meanwhile, the FFA continues to put out the begging bowl to Canberra while maintaining inflated salaries at head office.

As Palmer rightfully pointed out: "When you have the top five staff members at FFA receiving salaries which total nearly $5 million that cannot be right when you have owners losing up to $2 million each season.

"The federal government has put in $8 million recently to help FFA balance its books... and they should look at how it is spent. There are issues of corporate governance that need to be looked at.

"Australia has been ranked second-last in Asia for corporate governance and transparency. Only Indonesia was ranked below us and that should be a concern to every player and fan of the game. The thing stinks from the top and needs to be sorted out."

So for the FFA to shoot back with a charge that Palmer was "out of order" by calling it as he sees it really is the height of hypocrisy.

The only thing out of order is the FFA.



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