In a stunning move today, Football Australia (FA) and Australian Professional Leagues (APL) have announced the immediate termination of the A-League and Westfield W-League licence held by Newcastle Jets Club Pty Limited.
The decision was based on the entity’s failure to pay its debts as and when they were due, which placed it in material breach of the Club Participation Agreement.
Outgoing owner, and chairman, Martin Lee took over the ownership of the Jets in 2016.
However, another licence will now be issued to a group owned and controlled by a consortium of existing APL club investors, who’ll operate the licence on an interim basis until a new investor is secured.
The Jets, after suffering a 1-0 loss to the Central Coast Mariners on New Year’s Eve in the 2020-21 A-League season opener, will continue to participate in APL competitions and current Newcastle players are expected to be offered contracts with the latest entity.
Representatives of Football Australia, the APL and Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) met today with the players, coaches, management and staff of the club to advise them directly of the decision.
FA chief executive officer James Johnson said the owners of Newcastle Jets Club Pty Limited had been given every opportunity to rectify the organisation’s financial situation and continue as the owner and operator of the licence or to sell the club to another investor.
The company’s concurrent financial position, however, left no other choice but to terminate the deal.
“There were clear failings to adequately capitalise Newcastle Jets FC to meet the minimum requirements set to run an A-League and Westfield W-League club, and to operate a company in accordance with Australian law,” he explained.
“Following the recent announcement of the unbundling of the Professional Leagues from Football Australia, it’s pleasing to see a group of existing APL club investors stepping in to assume control of Newcastle Jets FC in the interim.
“It is important for Football Australia to remain separate to the ownership of the clubs so that it can effectively carry out its responsibilities as the governing body of football in Australia and regulator of the Professional Leagues.
“The Newcastle and Northern NSW region is a heartland of Australian football – an area with a strong participation base combined with a rich history of producing some Australia’s finest footballers, including dozens of Socceroos and Westfield Matildas.
“We are pleased that so soon into the unbundling process, APL has managed to secure an interim arrangement to ensure the ongoing viability of the Jets.
“Football Australia will support APL throughout the process with the aim of identifying new investment and new energy for Newcastle Jets FC and football in the region.”
APL Commissioner Greg O’Rourke echoed Johnson’s sentiments.
“From a competition integrity standpoint, this is an ideal outcome as we continue the 2020-21 seasons,” he added.
“Newcastle is a vibrant footballing region with a long and proud history in the game and we are delighted that the Jets will continue to participate in the APL.”