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SSFA president Wayne Schweickle and general manager Jeff Stewart told The World Game that several top-level meetings had been held this year about the concept of its association joining with the St George Football Association and Football South Coast to form an A-League club.
The meetings have been driven by Football Federation Australia (FFA) and also included representatives of Sutherland Shire Council and National Rugby League club, Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks.
Remondis Stadium, where the Sharks play in the winter, is seen as the preferred main
venue for A-League games for the proposed new club in summer.
Speculation about the future make-up of the A-League has gone into overdrive since FFA announced on Monday it had denied a request from Wellington Phoenix for a 10-year licence extension to
play in the competition.FFA Chief Executive David Gallop said the decision was taken in the “best interests of Australian football” and that Phoenix’s application “doesn’t meet the requirements we see as fundamental to the future growth of the Hyundai A-League”.
While Phoenix still has the option to apply for a four-year licence extension, to begin from the end of this season, it remains to be seen whether the club’s ownership will do that or walk away from the competition considering FFA’s negative evaluation of its contribution.
There has recently been speculation that a third Sydney club would be the preferred next addition to the A-League, but with FFA not keen on expansion at this stage the only way that could ike Hypervenom Phantom II FG Black happen in the near future is if one of the 10 existing clubs vacated its position in the competition.
Schweickle and Stewart said Nike Tiempo Legend V fg while they weren’t planning for SSFA to make a quick entry into the A-League, if a spot did open up, they could fast-forward those plans with FFA’s assistance.
“The Wanderers did it quickly and the FFA would have learnt something from that exercise,” Stewart said.
“So I would say the FFA should be able to do that in this instance, too, if they had to.
“If they don’t have to, I would hope they could take a little bit more time and make sure all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed, but they’ve done it before so I don’t see why they couldn’t do it again.
“For the good of football and for the good of the region covered by the three associations, if that was what we needed to do, then with FFA’s guidance we would do what it takes to enhance football in this part of the world.”
Schweickle said he was sure there was room for a third A-League club in Sydney and that joining up the strengths of three big associations from the southern area of Sydney, all the way down to Wollongong and south coast area, would be the way to go.
“We are the largest association in the country and when you look at St George they aren’t far behind us, and with Football South Coast, there are big numbers among all three associations,” Schweickle said.
“When you look at Western Sydney, they have established themselves out west and have a really good fan base and we’ve always been strong supporters of Sydney FC, but there’s enough space in Sydney to take on a third team.
“If the NRL can accommodate nine clubs in Sydney then I’m sure we can accommodate another A-League team. Look how far the A-League has come. The city is big enough and we’ve got the fan base.”
Stewart said his understanding was that FFA supported the idea of all three associations being involved in such a club if it became a reality.
“Every conversation I’ve had with the FFA, yes they’ve been positive about all three associations being involved,” he said.
“The speculation has been about a Sutherland Shire club, but those meetings that we’ve had, St George and South Coast have been involved in every one of them.
“It makes it a much better catchment area, Sutherland being the biggest sporting organisation in this country, and the St George area and Football South Coast also being football lovers. How could you go wrong by bringing all three together – it’s a huge area.”
When The Nike Magista Obra FG World Game suggested it sounded like the potential for a super club, Stewart said “yeah, that’s exactly what excites us.”
Schweickle and Stewart said discussions between the associations, the council and the FFA were still effectively in their early stages, but things could move quickly if there was a need to.
“This has been on the cards since the start of the year,” Schweickle said.
“It’s been spoken about since then and even towards the end of last year, there was a murmuring about a third club.
“Look, there’s a real positive mood from everyone who has been present at the meetings. The Sutherland Shire Council Mayor, Carmelo Pesce, he’s a great supporter of it.
“Us as a grass-roots club, we’re a big supporter. It’s just a matter of getting all the ducks in a row, so to speak.
“No-one has said ‘we don’t want to touch this’, it’s all been ‘yep, no worries, let’s see what we can do’. And with an attitude like that, you’re halfway there.
“We’ve got a good working relationship with the other two associations. We work together for the benefit of the sport.”
Stewart said the current home ground of Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks would be the preferred home ground for the new A-League club.
“In terms of somewhere to play, Remondis Stadium is sitting there waiting to be leased,” he said.
“In terms of training facilities, we could very quickly put something together amongst the three associations that could work.
“The councils, I’ll particularly speak for Sutherland Shire Council, are very excited and trying to think how they can help facilitate this. It’s all still in the early stages of discussion, but everyone is on the same page.”
Stewart was adamant SSFA’s objective from the start has been to possibly get involved in an expanded A-League competition and that any change to that landscape was out of its control.
“Is it about pushing a New Zealand team out of the competition? Absolutely not,” Nike Magista Obra Blue Stewart said.
“No question in my mind, this is Nike Mercurial Superfly IV FG not a stitch-up to kick Wellington out, it’s a case of if Wellington pulls out, is this an alternative?
“And if Wellington stays in, is it another alternative to add another one or maybe two teams to the competition? That’s for FFA to decide, not us.”