North Queensland Fury have been thrown out of the A-League after the club was unable to provide assurances about its financial viability going forward.
Football Federation Australia (FFA) chief executive Ben Buckley and A-League Head of Operations Lyall Gorman met with club officials when it was decided it was too big a financial risk to continue with the club next season.
“Despite the hard work put in, the target of Aus 1.5million of capital from the Retain the Fury campaign was not met, with less than 300,000 being pledged,” Buckley said.
“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 million.
“FFA had been looking for capital from the campaign to set the foundations for a move to local ownership and a long term future for the club. However with the capital-raising falling well short of the target, FFA has had to make the hard decision that it cannot continue to own and finance the club in these circumstances.”
Fury only joined the A-League in August 2009, and were immediately under financial pressure. FFA had taken over the funding of the club and Buckley said that in the end the burden was too much.
“We need to concentrate our resources on the growth, promotion and stability of the entire Hyundai A-League competition and this level of investment would prevent us from undertaking programs to achieve the above,” he said.
“Many leagues around the world have adjusted the composition of clubs in early years and we feel this move will strengthen the Hyundai A-League just as it did for Major League Soccer in the United States and the J-League in Japan.
“We acknowledge the region is an important development area for football and there are some fantastic supporters and FFA remains committed with Football Queensland to nurturing football in North Queensland.
“I would like to thank everybody who supported the Fury including the fans, staff, players sponsors and the Fury Advisory Board.”
North Queensland are the second club to have folded since the A-League’s inception six years, following the earlier demise of the New Zealand Knights in 2007. The competition will now feature just ten teams next season.