Palmer: Handing back licence was incredibly tough

Hunter Sports Group CEO Troy Palmer says the decision to hand back the Newcastle Jets licence was extremely difficult.

Hunter Sports Group CEO Troy Palmer says it was no easy decision to hand the A-League licence of the Newcastle Jets back to the FFA.

The Hunter Sports Group felt it had no choice but to return the Jets- licence following an irreconcilable breakdown in its relationship with the FFA.

“This decision hasn-t been made lightly,” Palmer said.

“It has been an incredibly tough decision and I feel for all our members, fans, partners and supporters, but above all our players and coaching staff.

“I can assure you we will help our contracted players find a new club.

“I-m very proud of what we achieved in 18 months with the Jets, building our community model and rebuilding the Jets- brand with the support of the Hunter community.”

Despite handing back the Jets- licence, Palmer said Hunter Sports Group would continue to be a strong supporter of grassroots football in the Hunter region.

“We are not walking away from football in the region, we will invest in a high performance academy in the Hunter,” he said.

“We realise there is a lack of specialised training and elite pathways for kids and that is something we-ve always wanted to do in the area.

“We believe that by changing our tact with our investment we can make a real difference for kids in this area.

“We believe that is the best way for us to make our investment in the region and that-s what HSG is all about, it-s about Newcastle, it-s about the region, it-s about making a difference.

“Propping up the FFA and propping up their decisions that we don-t agree with is not what we think is best for Newcastle.”

Palmer said it was now up to the FFA to decide where the future of the Newcastle Jets lies.

“There-s an opportunity for the FFA to take up the licence. They-re obviously propping up and funding the Western Sydney franchise, and if they want a 10-team competition I-m sure they will have the funds because they-ve obviously got the funds from somewhere to support the Western Sydney team,” Palmer said.

“Our relationship (with the FFA) is just untenable. Unfortunately I don-t believe that the Hunter Sports Group can work with the FFA so we-re handing it back and it-s up to the FFA whether they want to continue a team in Newcastle or whether they want to go in another direction.

“I hope there is change, not only for Newcastle but for the game and the kids that are playing the game because this is a great game.”