The Australian soccer A-League will be reduced to just 10 teams next season after debt-ridden North Queensland Fury was dropped from the competition.
The former owner of the club withdrew his support after the side lost millions of dollars, leaving the club under league administration for the past year.
Football Federation Australia (FFA) supported Fury for the A-League’s 2010-11 season, but insisted that the club had to raise enough capital to justify its continued participation in the tournament.
A statement from the FFA chief executive Ben Buckley, read: “The decision was determined after considering the financial position of the club for season 2011-12 as too big of a financial risk for FFA to undertake. Despite the hard work put in, the target of US$1.52m of capital from the Retain the Fury campaign was not met, with less than $304,000 being pledged.”
He added: “Whilst the club and the advisory board had attracted some very encouraging sponsorship commitments, the projected loss to run the club next season is still in our assessment in excess of $2.03m.”
According to local media reports, the FFA invested between $7-9.12m into Fury during its turbulent two seasons in the A-League. Administrators had planned to expand the league to 12 teams next season with the addition of a second Sydney side, but the plan was scrapped due to financial concerns.