Nathan Tinkler faces a possible ban from entering A-League stadiums after he was cited under Football Federation Australia’s national code of conduct for an alleged, explosive tirade against a journalist last week.
The Newcastle Jets owner has until next Friday to explain why he should not be sanctioned for a 15-minute outburst that reportedly occurred after the 4-3 loss to Sydney FC at Hunter Stadium.
According to Fairfax Media, Tinkler is alleged to have spotted Newcastle Herald reporter Robert Dillon after the match and then unleashed a torrent of abuse at Dillon that not even an intervening Jets official could stop.
Tinkler allegedly described Dillon and the newspaper as a “cancer” and accused him of “spreading cancer” before declaring: “I hope you get cancer and die.”
Dillon last year won a Walkley award for his coverage of the collapse of Tinkler’s sporting empire, which at one stage included the Jets, the NRL’s Newcastle Knights and horse racing and breeding operation Patinack Farm.
Dillon himself did not file a complaint about the incident but there were several witnesses, one of whom described Tinkler’s tirade as a “totally impromptu and unrelenting attack”.
Sanctions applicable for a breach of the FFA’s code of conduct include a reprimand, a fine, a ban from entering a stadium or a combination of those.
FFA’s action in citing Tinkler brings the governing body and the mining magnate back into conflict on the final day of an A-League season in which the two have repeatedly butted heads.
Tinkler’s ownership of the club has been under intense scrutiny this year; FFA nearly moved to take the club’s licence from him after Tinkler failed to meet outstanding debts in January.
In the same month he also earned the ire of the Professional Footballers’ Association when five contracted players were controversially axed from the Jets.
Tinkler has since met the club’s financial obligations, reaffirmed his commitment to the Jets and has pledged to bankroll a planned revival under coach Phil Stubbins next season.
The Jets close their A-League campaign against Brisbane Roar on Friday night at Lang Park, needing a win to avoid the wooden spoon.