A-League boss Greg O’Rourke says the competition’s expansion can’t be delayed further.The A-League simply cannot afford to delay expansion any longer, chief Greg O’Rourke says, despite criticism from clubs about the “legitimacy” of the process.
Former Adelaide United chairman Greg Griffin wrote to Football Federation on behalf of the 10 clubs last week, urging them to shelve any plans to add teams until the sport’s governance problems are sorted.
Griffin also claimed the clubs had not been consulted about expansion and said FFA’s board had no mandate to act on it because it was effectively in “caretaker” mode.
All stakeholders are still awaiting news from FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation over the composition of a “congress review working group”, which will be tasked with mapping out a solution to the problems that have plagued football for the past two years.
A joint FIFA-AFC delegation visited Sydney in late February and had promised to hand down their decision within two to three weeks but have missed that deadline by more than a fortnight.
However, O’Rourke told AAP the formal process to expand the A-League in time for season 2019-20 had to proceed now.
“I don’t think that n football can delay the question about expansion any longer,” O’Rourke said.
“What we’ve done, by not only putting it on the table but effectively firing the starter’s gun, means the clubs, FFA and member federations need to consult so that expansion becomes everybody’s reality.
“The clubs have put on record, publicly, that they’re supportive of expansion. Fans and media and FFA are also supportive of expansion.
“The difference of opinion between the clubs and FFA is not even the process, as far as I’m concerned – it’s just who will be on the decision-making body to grant expansion.
“That needs to be worked on concurrently.”
A-League expansion has been debated for years but after numerous false starts, FFA finally called for expressions of interest from bidders last Thursday.
It’s envisaged up to a dozen parties will submit an EOI.
A decision on which two new teams will join the competition will be made by the FFA board by the end of October.
FFA also invited clubs, state federations and the PFA to make submissions to provide their views on expansion and how any new teams might impact them.