Jets dispute bitter blow for Ali Abbas

ALI Abbas is probably the unluckiest of all the Jets caught up in Nathan Tinkler’s bitter dispute with Football Federation Australia.

The attacking midfielder’s agent, Michael Roth, said yesterday that the Iraqi international was close to signing a new contract with the Jets before Tinkler decided to return the club’s licence to FFA on Tuesday.

‘‘We were quite advanced in discussions with Newcastle until obviously this happened,’’ Roth said.

‘‘This was a shock to me and to Ali.

‘‘He, like all the other players, doesn’t know where he stands and is waiting for FFA to sort out the problems, so the players have some certainty.

‘‘At the moment he doesn’t have a contract next year.’’

After a slow start, Abbas began to stand out in the final month of the season.

The 25-year-old played 90 minutes in the side’s penultimate game, a 2-1 loss to Brisbane Roar at Hunter Stadium in which he scored with a curling free kick.

The man-of-the-match performance garnered strong praise from Jets coach Gary van Egmond and Abbas received another 90 minutes in the 3-2 loss to Sydney FC in the final round.

In January, Abbas became an Australian citizen, which improved his chances of remaining at the Jets as he no longer filled an import spot on the roster.

Roth said that after starting 29 times in his 60-match A-league career for the Jets, Abbas was looking for a more regular role.

‘‘He wasn’t looking for a guarantee but obviously he was looking to be at a club where he’s a starting player,’’ he said.

‘‘Obviously that was the case late in the season at Newcastle, so the indications were positive.

‘‘He might have had to look elsewhere if things had remained the way they were in the middle of the season, but his relationship with Gary meant it was a place he wanted to stay.’’

After April 30, HSG will stop paying Abbas’s wages, and the man who fled war-torn Iraq in 2008 to seek a better life in Australia is concerned about his future.

‘‘A few weeks ago he was hoping to make a decision in the coming weeks and this has been an unexpected setback,’’ Roth said.

‘‘Hopefully it won’t delay the decision too much.’’

Roth said his client was yet to field offers from rival A-League clubs.

‘‘It’s still fresh, but if it isn’t sorted out quickly Ali will have no other choice as he’ll need to secure his future,’’ he said.

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