Melbourne Soccer Clubs Chiefs Slam Palmer Comments

February 21, 2012

Melbourne Heart chairman Peter Sidwell has condemned Gold Coast United counterpart Clive Palmer’s comments critisizing the Australian A-League and his team.

Melbourne Victory chairman Anthony Di Pietro also expressed his disappointment at Palmer’s behaviour yesterday, joining Sidwell in calling for Football Federation Australia to deal with the situation swiftly.

Their comments came on another day of drama for the struggling A-League club.

Gold Coast chief executive Clive Mensink said coach Miron Bleiberg had been sacked, dismissing suggestions he had resigned.

Yesterday morning’s scheduled training session under new coach Mike Mulvey was cancelled, despite the team having a home game against Central Coast tomorrow night.

Palmer resumed his attack on the FFA yesterday, calling for chief executive Ben Buckley to be replaced.

Buckley said he would speak with Palmer about the club’s future, adding the FFA could strip a club’s licence if it had breached its “commitments and obligations”.

“But let’s not rush to any particular decision,” he said.

“We’ll take our time (and) evaluate the future of Gold Coast United over the next four to six weeks and the remainder of the season.

But first our priority is to make sure for the remainder of this season the integrity of the competition remains in place.”

Palmer has been attacked since he described the A-League as a “joke”, soccer a “hopeless game” and his club “insignificant” in a Sunday newspaper article.

Sidwell said Palmer’s comments were “disappointing and unhelpful”.

“While there will always be different views as to the best way to go about developing football, one cannot question the great progress made in recent years,” he said.

“In my view, any differences of view ought to be confined to a discussion with those responsible rather than venting through a media release.

“It’s probably incumbent on the national body now to address the matter to ensure that all parties’ issues are resolved in whatever form that takes.”

Di Pietro agreed.

“It is a difficult and less than desirable situation for all involved at Gold Coast United,” he said.

“It comes at a time when there is enormous optimism surrounding the A-League and football in general. Broadcast ratings are well up, crowds are up and participation continues to climb.

“Given the circumstances, it is incumbent upon the FFA to effectively manage this situation for all stakeholders involved and we have every confidence in them doing so.”

Palmer took to Twitter to clarify his weekend rant, but again took aim at the FFA.

“I like soccer but dislike how it’s run. Overpaid FFA execs also giving Fox Sports cheap TV rights. Free-to-air TV should be able to bid,” Palmer said.

by Ismail Uddin