Sky Blues warn FFA: Hands off south Sydney

Talk of a new A-League franchise in south Sydney has stirred up a hornet's nest at Sky Blues HQ, with Football Federation Australia accused of eroding the club's fanbase

With Wellington Phoenix set for the axe rumours of a new outfit in the Sutherland or St George areas have intensified.

But Sydney FC chairman Scott Barlow has called of FFA chief David Gallop to rule out such a move which would effectively cut the club’s “market in half”.

Barlow told Fox Sports: “I’m surprised and disappointed that David Gallop hasn’t yet come out to refute these rumours, having assured all the A-League chairmen that new A-League licences are not on the agenda.

“He said that no new licences would be issued for years, and certainly not before the existing clubs are financially sustainable.

“So we have real concern that FFA appear to be involved with meetings with multiple representatives from south Sydney in regards to a new club.

“I’d urge David to publicly reconfirm that this is not on the agenda, as he has said repeatedly to all the other A-League clubs.”

Barlow added: “South Sydney is critically important for us. Around 25% of our members live south of Mascot, 40% of our junior members live south of Mascot, and we have more members in Sutherland than any other region.

“There’s no question that a new team in the heart of a region so important to us would be a devastating blow and cut our market in half.

“It’s not what we signed up for and agreed to invest in more than 10 years ago. All A-League clubs must be able to operate with the assurance that their market won’t be cut in half, otherwise what’s the point in investing further?”

Gallop has admitted the FFA are looking “very closely” at a third Sydney team but would not take any action to undermine an existing club.

Meanwhile Barlow also took a shot at FFA over the treatment of New Zealand outfit Wellington Phoenix. The club was denied a 10-year licence extension and now has the option of another four-year term or exiting the A-League at the end of the current campaign.

“We don’t agree with the way Wellington have been treated, they deserve more respect,” Barlow said.