Newcastle Jets’ A-League and W-League licence has been terminated by Football Australia and Australian Professional Leagues (APL).
The termination takes immediate effect and has been implemented due to the club’s failure to pay off its debts.
Football Australia said that the unpaid debts meant that Newcastle Jets had breached the Club Participation Agreement.
Newcastle will continue to play in APL competitions such as the A-League – a new licence will be issued to an entity owned and controlled by a consortium of existing APL club investors for the interim until a new owner for the Jets is found.
Football Australia Chief Executive Officer James Johnson said that the current financial position of Newcastle Jets Club Pty Limited, the company which owns the club, left Football Australia with no other choice but to terminate the licence.
“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,” Johnson said.
“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.”
Chinese businessman Martin Lee took control of the Jets in 2016 for a reported $5.5 million. Football Australia and the APL’s actions mean that he is now left empty handed.
In November, SBS The World Game reported that a western Sydney group was close to buying the club for around $8 million. This prospective ownership group later pulled out of the running to take control of the club.
The APL consortium has appointed former NRL interim CEO, Shane Mattiske as the Executive Chairman of the Newcastle Jets.
“Today is a very positive step in the history of a great club which has strongly represented Newcastle, the Hunter and Northern NSW for two decades,” Mattiske said.
“The uncertainty that has overshadowed the Jets in recent times has been removed and the club now has a strong financial foundation to support its drive for further success in the A-League and Westfield W-League.
“Today’s announcement recognises the importance of the Newcastle Jets to Australian football and the strong commitment APL has to football in the Hunter and Northern NSW region.
“There is no question that the future success of the Jets will rely heavily on the support of the local community and I look forward to working closely with the many passionate supporters of this great club.
“The club needs all its supporters to stand up and strongly get behind their team.”