FFA prepares to step in as Newcastle Jets players go unpaid

Newcastle Jets coach Phil Stubbins (L) with owner Nathan Tinkler. (AAP) Source: AAP

Professional Footballers Australia has urged Football Federation Australia (FFA) to "look at the ownership structure" of the embattled Newcastle Jets as the pressure mounts on owner Nathan Tinkler over unpaid wages to players and staff.

Coach Phil Stubbins was confident that salaries – due on the 15th of each month - would be paid over the weekend but on Monday, Jets CEO Mitchell Murphy confirmed that no money had yet hit any bank accounts.

Neither could he confirm when any payments would be made.

Murphy declined to comment further when contacted by The World Game and Tinkler, who is struggling to pay a number of creditors, was also unavailable to clarify the situation.

Tinkler faces the prospect of having his licence revoked over the latest cash crisis to engulf the club, with FFA CEO David Gallop saying in a statement: "The non-payment of the players is a serious failure by the Newcastle Jets.

"This has happened despite repeated assurances about refinancing of the club and stabilising the operations.

"It's totally unacceptable for the Jets to fall short of their basic obligations. FFA will urgently examine all options available to have this situation addressed."

PFA head of player relations Simon Colosimo said that with players and staff facing late payments over three of the last four months it was time for the FFA to take action.

“We were expecting the players to be paid today (Monday) and have been across it all weekend ... but we have not been able to given them a definitive date from our discussions with the club," Colosimo said.

“We are working with the club to make sure this is fixed as soon as possible. This has been an ongoing concern and it’s just not good enough.

“It’s time that the key stakeholders, the FFA, PFA and the ownership sat down and worked out what’s the best way forward and what’s in the best long term interests of the league.

"The ownership structure of the club needs to be closely looked at.

“You are looking at a region which has produced an A-League champion (in 2008) and has produced so many good players and to see what is happening is very disappointing.

“Newcastle deserves a club and a well-run club. We are talking with the players and what’s been happening should not happen anywhere.

“Things may have been let to slide for too long and now the players are paying the price for that.”

Colosimo contrasted the predicament of the Jets to the other side of the A-League coin – Sunday’s showpiece grand final at a sold out AAMI Park between Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC.

“Newcastle have been there and done that also and the people in the region still talk positively about football in the Hunter. There’s a lot of history there and some good football people.

“The ownership structure is an issue … let’s not hide from that. The non-payment of players of staff is not a one off and should not be accepted by the PFA or the other key stakeholders in the game.”

Tinkler's various debts include $400,000 in unpaid superannuation and the club has been even been locked out of its University of Newcastle training base over $40,000 in unpaid hiring fees.

Tinkler's cash flow has been strangled by the Australian Tax Office which has a garnishee order which enables it to seize the $250,000 FFA grant paid to the club each month.

Speaking on Saturday, Stubbins said: “The wages are supposed to be going in over the weekend. In the past when they have been late … it’s only been a day or so.

"For me, that’s been part of the landscape and I wouldn't ruffle feathers over that.”

Stubbins is in England looking at several players after jetting in from Europe where he has also been seeking to unearth possible visa signings.

“We're putting together a dossier of names and we’ll make decision on what we feel is the right balance thereafter,” he said. “There are couple I want to have a good look at in the UK also.

“It’s all about finding the right players who will match the team model we want.

“The goal is to fill all five visa spots (of which two are already filled) and a marquee signing is also a possibility.

“You have seen the benefits of getting the foreign continent right in the teams that are at the top end of the table.”

Stubbins, assuming he remains at the helm, knows he will be judged harshly if he doesn't lead the Jets to the top six next season.

"You need time and resources to put your own stamp on it. There have been big changes at the Jets and there are reasons behind that.

"If we'd been in the top four every year you would question that ... but being in the bottom four, that's the reason we have made those sweeping changes.

"I have been involved in the game a long time and I understand what needs to be done to be successful. I have faith that I am taking the club to better place.

"But when you make big decisions you have to bear the brunt of the angst that comes from the people who had the fallout of those decisions - and that's been the case with the Jets."

Source SBS