Gallop: No Storm clouds for us

FOOTBALL Federation Australia has rejected concerns about a National Rugby League club buying into the A-League after Melbourne Storm joined the consortium to buy out Melbourne Heart.

NSW NRL side Penrith Panthers were told to back off by the FFA when they eyed up Western Sydney Wanderers last year with the FFA then ruling out any sale of the fledgling club to effective rivals.

But today the FFA rubberstamped the sale of Heart to a consortium led by EPL side Manchester City but with a 20 percent stake from Melbourne Storm.

The club also registered a new name Melbourne City FC as a trademark last week in anticipation of a possible name change later in the year.

CEO David Gallop insists this is different from the Wanderers case however and said he had been assured Heart and Storm will remain separate entities.

“The arrangements we have approved will see Manchester City have an 80 percent share,” said Gallop.

“There may be some common directors between the Heart and the Storm, but we are comfortable with the plan that the Heart will be largely a separately operated business, similar to the arrangements in Newcastle with the Jets and the Knights.”

Gallop also revealed FFA chairman Frank Lowy set the deal in motion in 2012.

He added: “The initial discussions began with our chairman Frank Lowy over a year ago in New York and we’ve been impressed with the clear strategic approach to the acquisition.

“The new owners are taking a long-term view of this investment, which fits perfectly with our strategic plans for the A-League and the growth trajectory of Australian football.”