Australia A-League facing expansion plan delay

MELBOURNE, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Under-fire administrators of Australia's A-League may delay expansion plans for the ailing competition after they were forced to intervene to save another financially troubled club.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) handed Newcastle United's ownership license to a local mining magnate after the debt-ridden east coast-based club nearly collapsed under the previous owner, the FFA said on Wednesday.

The shotgun marriage follows FFA intervention to rescue a raft of clubs in recent months, including Adelaide United, Brisbane Roar and North Queensland Fury.

FFA chief Ben Buckley conceded the league may have to delay plans to field a second side in Sydney next year and have given backers of the Sydney Rovers franchise a month to convince the league they can make it work, amid reports the consortium had been struggling to raise funds.

"We need to have a finite date so the club can get up and established and running in time for the next season," Buckley told local media on Wednesday.

"We have to take a five-year view, a 10-year view, a 15-year view that a team in western Sydney has to be successful and if that means we have to delay it, our intent is still to have a team there for all the reasons we've said before."

The FFA has been battling a rising tide of criticism from local media, with football identities slamming administrators for expanding the A-League too quickly and diluting the pool of local talent.