FFA confirms A-League expansion

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The A-League may see some new teams next season with Football Federation Australia (FFA) recently confirming an expansion plan was back on the agenda.

Teams from south Melbourne and Tasmania have already put forward strong bids to join the league, seemingly meeting all requirements for fielding a 2017 team.

The Tasmanian bid is looking to assemble an entirely new team and has already garnered the support of the state’s football federation and Tasmanian government.

South Melbourne on the other hand would enter the competition with a rich history, while becoming the third Melbourne A-League side.

The Albert Park based club has also set their sights on entering both W-League and National Youth League sides if they are approved for an A-League licence.

Additional teams who have expressed interest in joining future A-League seasons are Canberra, Brisbane Strikers, North Queensland, Wollongong and West Adelaide.

A-League boss Greg O’Rourke said the FFA first plans to expand within major cities but will also be looking to add teams in regional parts of Australia.

“There are a number of bids, if you like, that will no doubt come from communities who [sic] are looking for a football team to actually build their community and build pride in their community and have government support etc,” O’Rourke said.

Fans can first expect to see the league add two more teams to the table, before slowly continue to grow to about a 16-team competition.

“We want to make sure we have player talent and sustainability for the league but we should remain aspirational in terms of how many teams there could be,” O’Rourke said.

According to an FFA spokesperson the framework deciding whether teams will go through or not revolves around the clubs ability to provide ‘benefits’ to the league overall in addition to their financial viability.

With the financial backing of former Melbourne Victory board members Robert Belteky and Harry Stamoulis, Tasmania appear to have a strong case for their bid.

South Melbourne have also expressed their confidence in being able to fill their 10,000 seat Lakeside Stadium each week and have accumulated the necessary $5 million licence fee.

If the expansions are approved fans can look forward to what will undoubtedly be the most competitive season of A-League football yet.

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