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A-League 'can't afford' to expand without reform


Football Federation Australia has warned A-League expansion under its current model would result in unsustainable losses that would prove calamitous for the game.

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As the governing body announced it will start work with A-League and W-League clubs this week to develop a new, more fiscally effective ownership and operating structure, it admitted it can’t afford to add new teams to the men’s competition unless big changes are made.

FFA said analysis showed expansion would require “significant more capital investment” or face net losses over the next six years.

“This is because grant distributions to the new clubs, and the increase in costs to FFA for operational matters such as transport, would be greater than the additional revenue the clubs would generate through broadcast arrangements and sponsorships,” the statement said.

“As the FFA is a not-for-profit organisation that redistributes all of its income into the clubs and other parts of the game, such losses are not sustainable.”

In reaffirming its stance that expansion is not feasible before the 2018/19 season, FFA admitted bid parties would not receive the criteria for months after the promised time frame of February.

That will come as sour news to as many as 10 proposed consortiums preparing bids, but chief executive David Gallop stressed the “need to protect the value of the existing licences in which the current owners have invested”.

The issue has created anger and agitation between FFA and club owners, with the latter demanding a much larger slice of the game’s revenue, most of which they argue is brought in by them.

Tensions escalated in February when FFA, under FIFA’s duress, made its governance reform proposals but left clubs frustrated by the number of votes they were offered on an expanded congress.

Two weeks after those fraught meetings, FFA will hold more talks tomorrow involving a four-man committee made up of club chairmen.

“We want to expand the leagues but this has to happen as part of a new structure,” Gallop said.

“That’s why we are now working with the clubs to determine the future structure of the leagues and the criteria for expansion.

“We will examine these issues in detail and expect this work will take months rather than weeks.

“We know that those consortia that have expressed an interest in joining the league would want to be part of something that is financially sustainable and attractive as a sound investment.”


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