The tycoon's money concerns are making headlines, but the FFA is confident the ownership of the Jets remains in safe hands
|By PADDY HIGGS
CHIEF EDITOR - AUSTRALIA
Football Federation Australia insists it has "no concerns" about Nathan Tinkler ownership of the Newcastle Jets, despite the former billionaire's well-publicised financial woes.
Mining magnate Tinkler has been forced to sell off a host of assets to pay creditors and placate the Australian Tax Office, but is under increasing pressure and has had his AU$15m private jet repossessed.
The woes have trickled down to his sporting interests, with Tinkler forced to sell off the Victorian arm of his horseracing empire and the New South Wales government pursuing legal action against his Hunter Sports Group over a failure to meet a rent bill of AU$600,000 for the use of Hunter Stadium in Newcastle.
A dispute with the members' board of the Newcastle Knights - the city's National Rugby League club - over the terms of HSG's ownership has made its own headlines, but the FFA remains confident of Tinkler's future at the helm of his A-League outfit.
"Obviously what else is going on with his business dealings at the moment hasn’t affected his ability to run the Newcastle Jets Football Club," FFA media and public relations manager Mark Jensen told Goal.com on Wednesday.
"We're confident that club will continue to operate as they have been."
Jensen's comments follow that of FFA chief executive officer David Gallop, who said publicly in November he was content with matters at the Jets.
Tinkler's reign at the A-League club, which began in September 2010, has often been a tumultuous one. He announced his intention to hand back his A-League licence in April over a failure to resolve several issues, before talks with FFA chairman Frank Lowy convinced him to change his mind.
Tinkler's arrival at the Jets has seen the club's membership tally swell to over 11,000, while the club signed former England international Emile Heskey as its marquee for the 2012-13 season.
Talking on Tuesday, Newcastle Knights star Willie Mason shared the FFA's confidence Tinkler would stick with his sporting clubs.
"I don't think anyone's worried about payments," Mason said.
"… I know Tinks and he's a great dude and a friend of mine.
"I can't bag Tinks. He's done a great deal to help Newcastle be the club that it is now."