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Sacked Roar boss 'paid salaries from own pocket five times'

Soccer

Sacked Brisbane Roar managing director Mark Kingsman claims he reached into his own pocket five times to pay the wages of staff and players.

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Kingsman is considering his legal options after he was fired yesterday afternoon by the Bakrie Group, the Indonesian conglomerate that owns the A-League team.

It is the latest round of turmoil at a club that has been putting out similar spotfires consistently for the last three years.

Kingsman was reluctant to criticise the Bakries given the amount of money they have poured into the Roar since buying a 70 per cent stake in the club in late 2011.

But whatever they have spent has barely been enough with no CEO employed by the club who also do not have a sufficiently-staffed front office and no board of directors listed on the official website.

The two-time A-League champions have no paying front-of-shirt sponsor and an under-resourced football department which has seen injured players voice concerns about not receiving the best possible treatment.

Kingsman said it was a Bakrie “first” that wages to players and staff were paid on time for 14 consecutive months after payments were missed over the previous two years.

He said he had to reach into his personal account five times to make that possible and revealed he submitted a three-year, $4 million plan to make the Roar self-sustainable in February but didn’t even get a response.

Asked if he thought the Roar would ever reach its full potential under the current ownership, he said: “Certainly with a different owner, I think you’d achieve it a lot, lot quicker.”

“I just think there are people at the organisation who are afraid to tell the big people in the organisation what the truth is.”

Kingsman did not see the axe coming and his removal has been unpopular with supporters.

But it’s understood the Bakries decided to act after learning he had strained relations with a number of different stakeholders, including the state government, local councils and stadium operators.

Brisbane is expected to announce a new leadership structure in the coming days, with former chairman Chris Fong believed to be involved in the process.

It’s understood the Bakries have no intention of selling or relinquishing the club’s A-League licence in the short term.

-AAP

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