Football Federation Australia boss Ben Buckley has confirmed North Queensland Fury have been axed from the A-League after being deemed “too big of a financial risk”.
Buckley flew into Townsville today with A-League boss Lyall Gorman to deliver the bad news to the Fury.
North Queensland, who are solely owned by the FFA, had been asked by Buckley to secure half of the club’s predicted $3 million shortfall for the 2011-12 season to ensure their future.
Buckley today said the Fury had secured less than $300,000 of the required $1.5 million capital that would have earned them a one-year conditional licence from the FFA.
Buckley believed cutting the embattled Fury would strengthen the A-League.
He said continuing to fund North Queensland in excess of $2 million “reduced the capacity to invest in the A-League as a whole”.
“We need to concentrate our resources on the growth, promotion and stability of the entire 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.”
The Fury have been cut after just two seasons.
They entered the A-League in 2009-10 along with Gold Coast United, expanding the competition from eight to 10 teams.
But the Fury never recovered from foundation owner Don Matheson’s withdrawal after their debut season.
They received a lifeline from the FFA ahead of the 2010-11 kickoff and were asked to secure the $1.5 million capital to ensure their future late in 2010.
The A-League remains a 10-team competition following the introduction this season of Melbourne Heart.