A-League expansion decision at risk of another delay

A-League expansion is at risk of being delayed by another season with an announcement on the two new teams to enter the competition potentially delayed to January next year.

Football Federation Australia chief David Gallop and his management team will make their recommendation on the expansion process to the board on December 12, where they will state their preference for the next teams and timelines for their entrance to the A-League.

FFA boss David Gallop hints at possible delay of A-League expansion announcement.Credit:AAP

However, Gallop warns it could take up to another month for the board to make its final decision on expansion, adding another delay to the process which was initially set to be concluded by October 31.

Already, the perspective new entrants are running short on time to have team's up and running by the start of the 2019-20 A-League season and an announcement in January or beyond would place serious strain on the new clubs.

The new FFA board will be presented with the final bid documents on December 12 from the six remaining bidders – South West Sydney, Southern Expansion, South Melbourne, Western Melbourne, Team 11 and Canberra – as well as reports from FFA's management team and Deloitte.

Gallop hopes a final decision will be made immediately after that board meeting but warned the board's verdict may not be known for weeks.

"There will be a report on the 12th of December and we hope to be in a position where there's a final recommendation that can be made. It’s not absolutely critical that a decision is made on the 12th of December but there’s only a short period of time after that, perhaps into January. If it went much past January, it would obviously put the 19-20 season start under pressure," Gallop said.

One of the main issues surrounding expansion remains the licence fees offered by the bids, with a minimum requirement of around $13 million. Gallop made no secret the offers from bids will influence the final verdict but denied licence fees are the primary consideration for the new board.

"The expansion equation was always going to take into account a range of factors. It’s silly to suggest that it was only ever about the licence fee but clearly the financial position of the A-League and the rest of the game means that the financial equation is critical," he said. "We continue to talk to all the bids about making sure that they’ve put their best foot forward not only in terms of the licence fee but infrastructure, community engagement, these are still topics that we are talking to the bidders about because making sure we get a range of factors to the best possible position is going to be important."

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