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Posts : 1482
Join date : 2009-04-14
Location : Nations Capital
Other football teams : Leeds United, Reggina Calcio

[Expansion] A-League's Growing Pains Empty [Expansion] A-League's Growing Pains

Mon Jul 06, 2009 4:53 pm

A-League’s growing pains

Following the recent official confirmation of the Melbourne Heart as the 11th A-League license and before the start of A-League V5.0, the FFA will announce next month the winner of the 12th and final A-League license for season 2010-2011.

The FFA had considered 6 bids for the 12th A-League license - one from Tasmania, one from Canberra, one from Wollongong/NSW South Coast and 3 from Sydney’s west.

There were so many good bids for the eleventh and twelfth A-League license, according to the FFA, that they are now looking to expand to 14 teams. Whether that will be the following year in 2011/2012 or not remains to be confirmed.

A year ago I would have thought the second A-League team for Melbourne and for Sydney were a good investment prospect in the two biggest sports and television markets in the country and each city would greatly benefit from a true hometown football derby.

But after what’s been happening around the world in the last year or so, you would start to have doubts about their financial viability.

Melbourne football fans are also not too impressed by the Heart’s chairman and major financial backer Peter Sidwell, who describes himself as a businessman and not a football supporter.

His vision for the Heart is that “ . . . [football] will never replace Aussie rules [in Melbourne], but we will run a very good second in the future.”

Whether he’s right or wrong remains to be seen, but with an attitude like that – running a good second to your main competition - he’s not giving the football community much confidence in his football club management skills and a real desire for the football club to succeed.

The 9th and 10th A-League licenses have already been awarded to Gold Coast United and North Queensland Fury and pre-season crowds have not been that impressive.

That’s not to say they won’t do well in the season proper, especially the cashed up and very professionally run Gold Coast, but Archie Fraser and the new franchises still have a lot of work to do to get the new A-League clubs entrenched in their neighbourhoods.

Compared to the now defunct National Soccer League (NSL) competition, the A-League has been a success for Australian football and the FFA.

However, most A-League clubs are still struggling financially and not yet recouping their initial outlay.

The FFA is also demanding a minimum of $6M in start up capital, so a new A-League license doesn’t come cheaply. Bidding for an A-League franchise in the current economic climate does come with some risk.

Three bids for a west Sydney A-League franchise is encouraging, but are they based on sound economic and marketing research?

One of Australia’s richest sports administrations is struggling to be able to get a viable AFL team running in western Sydney and yet here we have 3 rival bids to put up $6M for the west Sydney A-League license and in a climate of economic downturn, falling A-League attendances and no guarantees they will ever recoup that outlay.

Tim Cahill, Lucas Neill and Mark Schwarzer have supported different Sydney and Wollongong/NSW South Coast bids, but have pledged their support for the winning Sydney bid, whichever one that is.

Lucas has already established the Lucas Neill Foundation to support the professional development of junior football players from Sydney’s northern beaches area, where he grew up.

After the next FIFA World Cup in South Africa, he has also offered to play for nothing in his first year for the second Sydney A-League team, in exchange for a financial stake in the new club, if they are successful in getting that A-League license.

The front running bid for the west Sydney license is headed up by Chairman Ian Rowden a former young Socceroo and now a successful businessman. He recently lost his place on the Sydney FC board after the club was taken over by Russian billionaire David Traktovenko.

Rowden was immediately snapped up by one of the west Sydney bids’ chief financial backers Joe Meissner and the bid organiser Berti Mariani. Berti is a good friend of Ian Rowden and they played together for the young Socceroos and in the NSL.

As well as playing for the Socceroos and having played and coached in the NSL, Berti is a businessman and entertainment promoter of some note himself.

If you’ve lived in Sydney and have gone to see live bands in concert like the Radiators, Midnight Oil, The Angels, The Church, MiSex and others, Berti would have been the promoter of the show.

Berti then moved on to other forms of entertainment promotion and has brought us some of the biggest football matches seen in this country over the past decade.

Meissner, Rowden and Mariani are very confident that their west Sydney bid will be announced by Ben Buckley next month as the successful 12th A-League license winner.

Only time will tell if that proves to be a worthy prize or if the west Sydney A-League club will be another classic case of misguided A-League optimism.
Posts : 105
Join date : 2009-04-16
Location : Canberra
Other football teams : Leeds Utd

[Expansion] A-League's Growing Pains Empty Re: [Expansion] A-League's Growing Pains

Mon Jul 06, 2009 5:13 pm
It is of concern and hopefully we don't find ourselves in financial trouble in the future.
Posts : 231
Join date : 2009-05-05
Location : Belconnen

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Tue Jul 07, 2009 9:29 am
That isn't great words from Peter Sidwell about the Melbourne team. It looks as though WEstern Sydney have the money- which will be the main factor in all of FFA's decisions.
Posts : 931
Join date : 2009-05-03

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Tue Jul 07, 2009 3:48 pm
yeah not encouraging although this article fails to point out that there is now more money then ever invested and available in the A-league (a couple of billionaires to say the least). Though some of the smaller clubs are struggling financially (ie Canberra will as well) unless we can come up with a real heavy investor or foreign investor.
Posts : 209
Join date : 2009-04-26

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Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:57 am
Yea. I think we can expect a lot of the clubs to struggle financially in the future. Mainly the smaller clubs like CCM, Canberra, Newcastle, NQ etc. Doubt
Posts : 115
Join date : 2009-07-08

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Wed Jul 08, 2009 9:17 am
I'm hoping that the A-League is stable for the future. I'm sure it is but i am hoping that we don't go into the dark days of the NSL.

I'm sure we won't.
Posts : 931
Join date : 2009-05-03

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Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:19 pm
There is too much money in the A-league for it not to succeed. The only thing is making sure the smaller clubs keep a float and that these clubs should really look overseas for investors.. Head to China, Japan, America noone has even thought of these markets for finding investors I am sure there are people there who would want to be able to get the advertising in Australia especially with Asian Champions League chances.
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