Sport's battle of the billionaires just keeps on getting better. FFA boss Frank Lowy has today finally hit back at attacks by fellow rich listers Clive Palmer and Nathan Tinkler on how he runs soccer.
Shopping centre magnate Lowy has brought in his closest allies, CEO Ben Buckley and A-League chief Lyall Gorman, to decide how to solve a problem called 'Palmer', as he continues his attack on the sport's ruling body.
Palmer has been agitating for the club owners to have more control over how soccer is run in Australia. He has also raised disquiet regarding a lack of transparency at the FFA, particularly as the A-League struggles to draw crowds and club owners wear the losses.
In an interview with News Limited papers today, Lowy said he had tried to approach the two rock kickers without success. On Palmer he said:
"If he does want to stay in the game he has to pay some respect to it. If he doesn't, we'll say goodbye. He's blaming everybody but he hasn't said 'I've done a really fucking bad job'. Excuse my language."
"I want to know seriously if he's interested in the game or is he not interested. If he's not he should leave us. If he is, there are rules and regulations that he has to abide by like everyone else."
'Clive the billionaire times five' has taken the long sword to Lowy and his mates at the FFA recently, reportedly branding his own club Gold Coast United "insignificant" and the sport a "hopeless game."
He has since sought to clarify his comments, saying he likes soccer (or football if that's what you prefer) but disagrees with how it is run.
He has since fallen out with sacked coach Miron Bleiberg, called for Ben Buckley to be replaced as FFA CEO and, as recently as Sunday, branded his team's strip with a provocative "freedom of speech" logo.
Coal tycoon Tinkler (owner of the Newcastle Jets) has also been critical, claiming he was ripped off in paying $5 million for the club's license fee.
"In regards to the key points raised by Clive Palmer, the Newcastle Jets support the notion of: clubs having greater input into the running of the A-League; increased transparency and accountability of the FFA; a change in the current commercial model of the A-League," the club said in a statement.
Lowy said he had negotiated with Tinkler himself:
"He came up to my office and we came to an agreement. It was a commercial negotiation."
Both Palmer and Lowy have made the Top 10 of The Power Index's latest Rich Crusaders list, which looks at the wealthy who use their money to push for change.