Explainer: All you need to know about A-League expansion

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A look at the issues behind the looming Football Federation Australia decision on A-League expansion.

WHAT'S ALL THIS ABOUT A-LEAGUE EXPANSION?

On Wednesday night, the FFA board will meet to discuss adding new teams to the A-League.

Six bidders, down from an original list of 15, remain in the hunt for a licence to join Australia's national football competition.

WHO'S IN THE RUNNING?

Three bids from Melbourne: Team 11 from Dandenong, Western Melbourne Group and NSL club South Melbourne.

Two bids from Sydney: Southern Expansion, from southern suburbs, and South West Sydney, which will play out of Campbelltown. And one from the ACT: Canberra United.

WHO'S GOING TO WIN?

The million-dollar question. All have merits and shortfalls, but a couple appear ahead of the pack.

Team 11 ticks all the boxes except for a stadium, which it hopes will come from the state government.

South West Sydney has the stadium and could take off in a similar way to Western Sydney but the Wanderers aren't keen on sharing the turf.

Broadcasters have expressed a desire for new teams in major metropolises, which counts against an otherwise strong Canberra bid.

WHO MAKES THE DECISION?

The FFA board is made up of six members - chair Chris Nikou, deputy Heather Reid, Crispin Murray, Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, Joseph Carrozzi and Remo Nogarotto.

Just four will be in the room for the final decision, as Carrozzi and Nogarotto assisted at least one of the bids before joining the board.

WHEN WILL THE CLUBS COME IN?

Nikou is on the record wanting them in next season but existing A-League clubs are opposed, demanding a delay.

They fear a rush-job and want FFA to focus on a new operating model for the league that would see them become independent, and grow profitability. So it's likely they'll enter in 2020-21.

WHY IS THIS HAPPENING WHEN CROWDS ARE DOWN?

FFA believes the game needs new investment and new teams to invigorate a tired competition.

The fact that there were 15 consortia of varying quality willing to join the league, injecting new capital suggests the money is there.

There's also the small issue of a lack of pathways for talented young Australians; more teams means more opportunities for budding Socceroos.

HAS THIS HAPPENED BEFORE?

Yes; with varying success. In 2009, Gold Coast United and North Queensland Fury were added but both have since folded.

Melbourne Heart joined in 2010 and then became Melbourne City, an arm of Manchester City's global football empire, but haven't tasted on-field success.

In 2012, Western Sydney Wanderers also joined and have been a raging success, outgrowing their stadium and becoming Asian Champions League winners.

Additionally, in 2007, FFA shifted their New Zealand licence from Auckland to Wellington.

WHAT ABOUT PROMOTION AND RELEGATION?

Traditionalists are eager to see Australia adopt a multi-tiered football system including promotion and relegation to a second division, and possibly beyond.

But this isn't a part of FFA's plans, who want to get to a sustainable 16-team competition first and then worry about what's next.

WHEN WILL WE KNOW?

Stand by for an announcement on Thursday morning.

Source AAP