Ex-Socceroos have their take on A-League expansion

Expansion may happen after a new TV deal is negotiated said FFA CEO David Gallop as former Socceroos from Canberra, Geelong, and Wollongong have put their regions forward as future A-League clubs.

At the release of the FFA whole of football plan, it's 20 year vision, the FFA stated their goal for Expansion of the A-League would be “through a strategic framework”. 

But speaking at the FFA four-year strategic vision Gallop did not reveal which areas it is considering for the next stage of the A-League's existence.

And while expansion is not on the FFA’s short-term agenda, Gallop did say that if some factors in the football landscape did alter it may expand sooner rather than later.

“We’ve always been looking at various markets and doing our research on various markets in the event that something was to change,” he said.

“We are looking to sell the Newcastle Jets and that would potentially change - it would certainly change our own financial position. 

“It’s not that many years ago that we had clubs broke and fall over and people where left unpaid. No-one ever wants to go back to that sort of position we just have to knuckle down and get to a new TV deal have a look at what the environment looks like then.”

For many years Canberra has been considered a possible expansion destination for the A-league. But since Gallop comments that expansion should be in larger cities Capital Football doesn’t believe that the nation’s capital is in the FFA’s plans.

“David Gallop has made it clear that any new team in the A-League would need to come for a much larger population base than the one currently in the ACT and region,” said a spokesperson from Capital football.

“Capital Football’s response is realistic and we understand our role as a Member Federation with regard to bidding to be part of the A-League. We will continue to press the FFA for a team in the NYL and to maintain Canberra United in the W-League.

But former Socceroo Andy Bernal who was born and bred in Canberra disagrees with Gallop’s view.

“I don’t believe that in any country a football licence should be determined on the population of a city,” he said.

“If you understand football globally you need the right people running a football club then - there is no fear in helping to create an A League club that would take on the Brumbies and the Raiders. Canberra filled Bruce Stadium for the Asian Cup did we not?”

Meanwhile Mile Sterjovski says that his former club is an example of small cities having successful football clubs.

“The first thing that comes to mind is FC Basel,” said the ex-Socceroo.

“Basel is a city with around roughly 200-300k people only but it is one of the biggest clubs in Switzerland. It has the biggest support base. It doesn’t have to be about millions.”

One of Geelong’s most famous football sons, 51-capped Socceroo Josip Skoko, says that if other codes can be successful in his hometown then why not football?

“If they can do it I am sure that our football code can do it as well,” he said.

“If you look at participants locally it has gone through the roof in Geelong. From futsal in the off season to outdoor numbers during the season it’s crazy. So there is definitely interest for the sport.”

  • Con Stamocostas is an Australian football writer. Click here to see more of his work and check out the latest episode of his A-League Snobcast with co-host Rob Toddler.

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