EXCLUSIVE: North Queensland has made a strong statement with almost $3m pledged by local business to ensure the future of local club Fury in the A-League.
A Townsville-based business group will submit a report to the FFA tonight that says they have firm cash and contract commitments of $1.8m with a further $1m in future pledges.
And with the FFA also committing to help Fury in the short-term, the club's future appears rosier.
After a rollercoaster day, an ecstatic Glenys Schunter told au.fourfourtwo.com that Fury 2.0 will look to build a stronger platform for the club.
"They would have liked to have seen the $2.5m in signed sealed and delivered contracts but in the corporate world, such sponsorships take six to 12 weeks of negotiations," said Schunter, a spokesperson for the business group.
"So I think to get to $1.5 we've done exceedingly well in firm cash commitments and on top of that a very substantial amount in the pipeline and other contra arrangements."
A month ago, the FFA set the business group a task of finding $2.5m by March 31, and if they did, it would trigger the FFA's extra financial support. That now appears to have happened with FFA Chairman Frank Lowy saying as much in Sydney today.
"We saw it as a big challenge but what we've been able to submit today we've been able to demonstrate the local community absolutely wants North Queensland Fury to stay in the region," said Schunter.
A local advisory board will be put in place to help run the new club and this board will recruit and select key senior management personnel for Fury going forward.
And she confirmed existing sole owner of the club Don Matheson - who has reportedly lost millions of dollars so far - will step down from the chairmanship of the company he'd established and is not expected have a part in the new entity.
"We just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who's got behind us, especially the local businesses who've dug deep and committed," she said.
"As for the players it's not an enjoyable situation when one company closes and a new one starts. We should thank the players for their incredible commitment to keeping Fury going and continuing to promote the Fury brand right up until today.
"I'd like to publicly thank all the players. And North Queenslanders always get behind initiatives that are good for our regional benefits"
One of those benefits is a mooted new stadium in the area tied in with FFA's bid to host either the 2018-2022 World Cups.
"We want to do what's best for future generations up here and that's also from people who've never been to a Fury game," added Schunter, a Fury fan.
"Fury have done a great job in the first year in establishing the club both on and off the pitch.
"They almost made the finals in their first season and built a strong brand across the country, as evidenced by the amount of people who've said to me across the country they love us in the league."
However Schunter said i was still too early to comment on the future of coach Ian Ferguson and marquee Robbie Fowler, and that it would be a matter for the new advisory body to decide.