At last, FFA has today - Easter Thursday afternoon - announced the criteria by which initial expressions of interest (EOI) for two A-League expansion clubs will be considered, for commencement in 2019-20. Odd timing, but that's by-the-by.

The criteria are:

1.  Vision and strategy for the expansion A-League Club, including: 

  • Unique selling point(s);
  • Approach to fan engagement, media engagement; stadia, government and player development and youth pathways;
  • Proposed location(s), including connection to the area and an understanding of the local football community and its history;

2.  Financial capacity, including:

  • Evidence of available resources, including capital, revenue and/or membership;
  • Details as to how they intend to finance the acquisition of the licence;
  • Details as to how they intend to fund the ongoing operations of the club.
  • Details about persons involved in the prospective bid, including relevant experience across sport/football, business management, marketing and media experience.

Expressions of Interest are due on 24 May. Following expressions of interest, FFA will issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to shortlisted parties inviting the submission of detailed proposals on 11 June, three days before the commencement of the World Cup, with additional information to be provided at that stage. FFA may also require the payment of a $30,000 bond for those wishing to submit an RFP. 

Our understanding is that the two new expansion clubs will not have access to any of the current broadcast revenue - and therefore will not have the salary cap covered - for at least 3-4 years, thereby ensuring that the new franchises must have very deep pockets to be able to cover potential losses. 

FFA also said that the W-League would not necessarily expand in parallel with the A-League “because the priorities for the W-League are different”. FFA did not expand on what the different priorities are other than to state it had a “separate and dedicated focus for the W-League” as well as the Y-League. 

Formal submissions will close on 31 August, with a final decision on the expansion of the A-League is envisaged to be made by the FFA Board in October 2018 - prior to the next annual general meeting of the FFA Congress in November. Depending on whether FIFA/AFC ever determines the composition of the Congress Review Working Group, it is anticipated that this year's annual general meeting may well be the last for current Chairman, Steven Lowy.

If so, it would mean that three major decisions have been taken by Lowy and his Board in this period where Australia's football stakeholders are waiting for FIFA/AFC: the extension of David Gallop's contract by two years, the appointment of the next coach of the Socceroos before the current coach had even presided over a game, and the next two expansion clubs in the A-League. 

“We have done a lot of work on the fundamentals behind successful expansion of the A-League and we are confident that we will receive some high quality bids as part of this process,” said Gallop.

He said it was encouraging to see that the Adelaide United licence sold recently for a price that provided the owners with a strong financial return on their initial investment. 

“We are looking for new clubs that are going to not just be successful in their own right but make the league as a whole more commercially successful. It will be important that the existing clubs, Member Federations and PFA are given opportunities to make submissions on the impact on their own organisations and their views on the options as they unfold.

Gallop said that while this process is going on, FFA will continue to work with the existing clubs, broadcasters and other partners to build the A-League for next season.

“We will be investing more marketing dollars than ever before on the League and introducing other initiatives to get crowds and viewers back for next season,” Gallop promised. 

Undeterred by the timing of the FFA announcement, the A-League clubs via the Australian Professional Football Clubs' Association (APFCA) hit back late on Thursday night with a letter to Gallop criticising the Board for announcing the process for expansion while the FFA Congress issues are still unresolved. 

Fairfax Media reported that APFCA's letter said that while existing clubs “desperately” want expansion to 16 clubs, they want the game's governance resolved first. 

Fairfax Media quotes the letter: “[APFCA] does not accept the legitimacy of the process, whatever that may have been, adopted by FFA Administration and the FFA Board to expand the A-League competition. Unless and until the corporate governance issues have been resolved, any decision made by the FFA Board as to expansion lacks all legitimacy and will not be accepted by APFCA.”

Categories: News | A-League

a-league, a-league expansion

You might also like: