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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

A-League expansion OULD THE DECISION BE DELAYED?

CANBERRA
The only bid aligned with a W-League team, Canberra are hoping to bring A-League football to the nation’s capital after missing out on a license a decade ago. Backed by the territory’s government, and with a deal in place for a stadium and to use facilities at the Australian Institute of Sport, it shapes as a serious contender for inclusion.
Where’s the money coming from?
If successful, Canberra would become the first A-League club to adopt the ‘50-plus-one’ ownership model that has become popular in Europe. Club members would retain overall control while the other 49 per cent would be owned by investors. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, they have “a heavyweight overseas investor who has a strong presence in top-flight US and European leagues.”
What will they bring to the A-League?
A team in Canberra would see the A-League venture into a new and untapped market, and help football beat the likes of the Big Bash and NBL to expand into the capital. They would provide a united front with their sister W-League team, and tap into a new stream of grassroots football having garnered support from every team in the Canberra Premier League.
MACARTHUR SOUTH WEST SYDNEY
Backed by a billionaire and representing one of the fastest growing areas in Australia, Macarthur-South West Sydney are keen to bring a third team to Sydney. The result of a merge between two initial bids – Macarthur and South West Sydney – they would play their football out of Campbelltown.
Where’s the money coming from?
Financed by billionaire property developer Lang Walker and backed by a local consortium of business owners, there appears to be no shortage of money behind this bid.
Where are they going to play?
They’ve vowed to redevelop Campbelltown Stadium as their home in the A-League. Meanwhile, plans also exist for a training base in Liverpool as well as a centre of excellence.
What will they bring to the A-League?
This bid would add another Sydney derby to the mix, while largely not encroaching on the territory of the existing two teams. It would tap into a fast growing population centre, which will soon have a new airport, and have also flagged big ambition and keenness to invest .
SOUTH MELBOURNE
South Melbourne is a bid representing Australian football’s history and identity. A former NSL powerhouse, the club looked to enter the league when Melbourne Heart (now City) joined and its rumblings of interest have never really gone away.
Where’s the money coming from?
As South Melbourne already has a stadium in place, in a place heavy with infrastructure, there are less questions around their ability to front up a team. One issue facing the former NSL club is the fact both Victory and City play close to the CBD, making it harder to draw a clear geographical divide between them and the two existing Melbourne A-League clubs.
Where are they going to play?
If South Melbourne’s bid is accepted, they will be set to play at current ground Lakeside Stadium. There would potentially be some minor hitches – such as having to play away in F1 Grand Prix week, - but they have a home ground just about ready to go.
What will they bring to the A-League?
As a former NSL powerhouse, South Melbourne has an established fan base, history and club identity. They have an ongoing lease at Lakeside Stadium, which hosts W-League and NPL/NPLW matches, just outside the CBD.

SOUTHERN EXPANSION
Spearheaded by SBS personality Craig Foster and chaired by former NSW premier Morris Iemma, Southern Expansion believe they can harness a grassroots goldmine. The bid is based out of South Sydney and has plans to waive registration fees for youth players as well as being a beacon for indigenous football.
Where’s the money coming from?
Hong-Kong listed conglomerate JiaYuan Group are the major backers of the bid.
Where are they going to play?
Stadium plans have been a sticking point, with the bid thought to be keen to split games in the short term between three grounds – Shark Park, Jubilee Oval and WIN Stadium in Wollonging. Eventually, they would build their own purpose-built stadium.
What will they bring to the A-League?
Their catchment boasts more registered footballers than any other in Australia, and they boast strong links with indigenous football – and could even adopt the name Dharawal as a nod to the nation that borders their region. However, Sydney FC and Wollongong Wolves have both expressed opposition to the bid with the former believing their fan base could be cannibalised.
TEAM 11
Team 11 is a bid focused on providing a club for people in Melbourne’s South East, especially the Dandernong, Casey and Cardinia regions. This area is considered outer Melbourne but is realistically more than an hour from the CBD, making attending Victory or City games a difficult prospect. The concept of Team 11 intends to provide both a senior club and development pathways for local players.
Where’s the money coming from?
Team 11 has a number of backers, with the most prolific being businessman Gerry Ryan. That said, the bid looks set to rely heavily on state – and potential federal.

WEST MELBOURNE GROUP
One of the more mysterious bids, this started with roots of a Geelong bid but has transformed to cover more of Melbourne’s western corridor, which is another suburban growth area. The bid is supported by Wyndham council. Crucial to its hopes are its plans to fully fund its own stadium.
Where’s the money coming from?
One of the Western Melbourne Group’s big drawcards is its plans to fully fund its stadium through private investors – in contrast to say, Team 11, which would rely on government funding. That said, the location of the proposed stadium is difficult to access via public transport and it’s likely that other infrastructure would have to be funded to make it a viable option.
Where are they going to play?
For Western Melbourne Group, the plan is to initially play two seasons at Kardinia Park in Geelong, then have their own ‘Wyndham Stadium’ ready to go. That would be located in Tarneit, in Melbourne’s west.
What will they bring to the A-League?
Similarly to Team 11, the Western Melbourne Group is looking to expand the A-League to Melbourne’s growing outer suburbs. It would have the view to offer the A-League and W-League experience to those who live relatively far away from AAMI Park.
COULD THE DECISION BE DELAYED?
The expansion teams were originally set to be announced on October 31, but ongoing uncertainty over the FFA board - which has since been overhauled - saw the decision delayed.
Tomorrow may well see the call finally be made, but a further delay is not out of the question. The Daily Telegraph’s Tom Smithies reported (watch in the video player above) the FFA is under pressure from the A-League clubs to delay expansion for another season.
Clubs had been under the impression that they would enter the league from next season, but that could be pushed back a further season depending on how the board rule.
It also remains unclear which board members will be able to participate in the vote, with Heather Reid, Joseph Carrozzi and Remo Nogarotto all having links to at least one bid.


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