Setting the record straight
Fury board members sue FFA for defamation over club’s demise
IT’S not about money, it’s about the truth.
If Football Federation Australia thought the North Queensland Fury would fade away after their A-League axing, they were sadly mistaken af t er cl ub Advisory Board members filed a defamation lawsuit against the Federation.
Townsville business identities Rabieh Krayem, Sean Knights, Peter Brine and Brendan Pickering filed the suit through Emanate Legal.
The 14-page document, seen by the Townsville Bulletin, which con- tains correspondence between the Advisory Board and FFA, claims the individuals had their reputations tarnished by the comments and actions of FFA.
There are no claims for financial restitution, just that FFA come clean with how the club’s axing came about.
Fury maintain they exceeded the required $ 1.5 million – listing the contributors in the document – stipulated by the governing body as necessary to extend North Queensl a n d F C ’ s e x i s t e n c e i n t h e A-League, only to be told on decision day the money needed to be capital, not sponsorship.
The club only had around $ 300,000 in investment.
Advisory Board members would not comment yesterday, but it is understood they are willing to take the matter to the Supreme Court if they do not receive the response desired – a move that could cost up to $ 50,000.
They are confident they have a strong enough case to win. The demands are: • A written letter of apology to be individually addressed to each member of the Fury Advisory Board.
• A written public notice to be posted on FFA’s website disclosing the full amount of funding secured by the Fury Advisory Board ( that is, circa $ 1.6 million) and forwarded to all the members on its electronic database.
• A press release to the media retracting misleading statements made by FFA and correcting relevant errors, with the press release to be approved in consultation be- tween FFA and the Fury Advisory Board; and
• A formal written undertaking that FFA will not make any further defamatory remarks concerning the Fury Advisory Board now or in the future. FFA have until April 7 to respond. If the demands are not met, the Advisory Board will take the lawsuit to court.
The defamation lawsuit is directly aimed at FFA CEO Ben Buckley, A-League head Lyall Gorman and CFO Tony Hallam.
The paperwork states that it accepts the Fury will no longer be a part of the A-League on financial grounds, but says it is the Advisory Board’s belief that the FFA’s representatives misled the public in the club’s perceived failure – impacting negatively on the quartet’s reputations.
It read: ‘‘( the Advisory board) does not appreciate or condone the manner in which the FFA has communicated this information to the public, and in particular, failed to mention that approximately $ 1.5 million worth of capital and revenue had been raised by the Fury Advisory Board for the continuation of NQ Fury FC in the 2011/ 12 season’’.
FFA, which took control of NQFC last April after original owner Don Matheson was forced to walk away after major first-season losses, instated the Fury Advisory Board to raise the required funding to keep the club alive.
The only finances the Advisory Board will request should they succeed in the lawsuit is financial costs.