Australian soccer owner calls soccer a ‘joke’



SYDNEY (AP) — The billionaire owner of a struggling Australian soccer team derided his club as insignificant and the league as a “joke.”

What’s more, he says he doesn’t even like soccer.

Mining magnate Clive Palmer is the owner of Gold Coast United of the Australia A-League. He has been a regular critic of Football Federation Australia.

He told the Sunday Mail newspaper that soccer is a “hopeless game — rugby league’s a much better game.”

Gold Coast was an expansion club in the 2009-10 season. It is in last place in the A-League and rarely attracts crowds exceeding 5,000.

Australian soccer federation chief executive Ben Buckley called Palmer’s comments “offensive to the players, coaches, administrators and volunteers who are the life and soul of Australian football.”