Owners of three clubs save the Newcastle Jets after termination of Martin Lee’s licence


Former NRL boss Shane Mattiske has been appointed executive chairman of the Newcastle Jets after Martin Lee was stripped of the A-League club’s licence.

Mattiske was given the job by a consortium of A-League club investors who taken control of the embattled club following Lee’s demise.

Football Australia and Australian Professional Leagues on Monday announced the immediate termination of the A-League and W-League licence held by Lee in the name of Newcastle Jets Club Pty Ltd for breaching the club’s participation agreement.

The breach was for failing to meet set deadlines to pay debts.

A new licence was issued to an existing group of A-League investors – from Sydney FC, Western Sydney Wanderers and Western United – who will fund the club until a new owner is found.|
All Jets players will be offered contracts by the interim owners.

Lee, boss of the Shenzhen-based Ledman Group, bought the club in 2016 but reportedly stopped financing the Jets in October 2019.

Mattiske was interim NRL CEO in 2012 following the resignation of David Gallop.

Before that he was the NRL’s general manager of strategy, a role he returned to following his six-month CEO which ended when David Smith was appointed to the job.

Mattiske left the NRL in March 2014, with his greatest achievement being his role in securing rugby league a $1.2 billion television deal with Fox and Nine.

“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 W-League.”

“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.”

Jets captain Nigel Boogaard said: “The news today is a big boost for the players and for the rest of the club. While the players have remained focused on performing, the ownership discussions have been a distraction and I’m glad that we can all now look forward to this Friday’s game (against Western Sydney) and beyond, knowing that the club is now on a strong footing.”

Lawrie McKinna, who had been Jets CEO under Lee’s ownership, is expected to remain with the club in a new role.

FA chief executive James Johnson said the only option left was to terminate Lee’s licence.

“There were clear failings to adequately capitalise Newcastle Jets FC to meet the minimum requirements set to run an A-League and W-League club and to operate a company in accordance with Australian law,” Johnson said.

“It’s pleasing to see a group of existing APL club investors stepping in to assume control of Newcastle Jets FC in the interim.”

APL commissioner Greg O’Rourke said: “From a competition integrity standpoint, this is an ideal outcome as we continue the 2020-21 seasons.

“Newcastle is a vibrant footballing region with a long and proud history in the game and we are delighted that the Newcastle Jets will continue to participate in the APL.”

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