Glory licence threat over Sage stance
Clive Palmer and Tony sage. Pic: WA News

Perth Glory owner Tony Sage is on a collision course with Football Federation Australia after declaring his intention to breach a condition of his A-League licence.

Sage believes his decision not to fund either a National Youth League or women's team next season could prompt FFA to take back the licence the mining entrepreneur has held since 2007.

"I'm not going to give my licence away. The only way they are going to get it off me is if they take it off me," said Sage, who claims his previous criticisms of FFA did not contravene A-League guidelines.

"All I've ever done is (provide) constructive criticism. This is the first time I'm actually breaching a condition of my licence by not fielding a women's team and a youth team."

Sage said he had been made aware of rumours the club's founding co-owner, Nick Tana, could be parachuted in to take over ownership. But FFA and Tana yesterday denied any knowledge of the plan.

An FFA spokesman also said yesterday the peak body had "received no formal notice" regarding Glory's intentions with women's and youth teams.

"In any case, the Hyundai A-League participation agreements don't make it optional for clubs to field these teams, which are vital pathways for elite youth and women players in WA," the spokesman said.

"If the Glory have concerns, we'll discuss these matters in our regular talks with the club."

Sage believed he could be cut out of the A-League picture as quickly as FFA had dismissed Clive Palmer as owner of Gold Coast United.

"FFA said they will discuss it with me in Sydney on the 29th (of March)," he said. "But without notice, they pulled the licence off Clive in a clandestine operation that I disagreed with. They should've waited until the end of the season."

Glory, who have qualified for their first home final in what has been their best A-League campaign, will embark on cost-cutting measures next season and have started slashing their wage bill.

Sage is adamant he will no longer spend around $450,000 a season on funding the youth team and $100,000 on the W-League team.

The mining entrepreneur said he understood the value of youth development but felt the cost of running the team was excessive.

"It's detrimental to me if I don't have youth coming through," he said. "But I'd do it a lot smarter. I wouldn't spend my dough transporting players across the country."

Football West chief executive Peter Hugg said the local body, which managed the W-League team, was committed to the ongoing development of youth and women's soccer.

Meanwhile, Glory defender Dean Heffernan will be available for the club's home final - likely to take place on April 1 - after receiving a one-match ban for a challenge on Daniel Bowles during the 3-0 defeat to Gold Coast United at the weekend. He will miss Saturday's final regular game of the season against Melbourne Victory at nib Stadium.

Live chat with Perth Glory captain Jacob Burns from 11.30am today at thewest.com.au

The West Australian

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