FFA insist west Sydney club will succeed
Football Federation Australia chief executive Ben Buckley has insisted the new western Sydney A-League team can succeed despite the loss of three clubs in six years.
The second Sydney club announced on Wednesday sounds the death knell for the Gold Coast franchise, which is set to follow in the ill-fated wake of the North Queensland Fury, who were axed from the league last year, and the New Zealand Knights who folded in 2007.
The FFA will fund the new club initially as it tries to establish a team in the sporting battleground of western Sydney, joining the fray with the NRL and AFL.
"From next season western Sydney, the heartland of Australian football, will be represented in the A-League," FFA chief Ben Buckley said.
"Yes, it has taken time to get a club into western Sydney but now the time is right and I believe that the model is right."
While Buckley said a decision on the troubled Gold Coast club would be announced in the next 24 hours, the business consortium bidding to save the club issued a statement saying it had been overlooked and accused the FFA of stringing them along.
"We were transparent about our model and we put it together in just two weeks. Do I feel like we've been strung along? A bit like that, yes," businessman Tom Tate said.
After failing to find a financial backer, Buckley confirmed the FFA would fund the western Sydney club themselves, backing their belief that the area is a huge untapped market for the sport.
But he said future plans are to establish a community model of member investors as opposed to one owner.
"Within a two to three year period we would like to see the ownership transition to either a community-owned model or to have private investors come in and support the club," Buckley said.
Buckley confirmed that the FFA has already looked into a potential CEO and members of an independent board for the club.
"We've got a shortlist of candidates for the CEO position, we've got a shortlist of candidates for the board," he said.
The new club will utilise the Football NSW headquarters at Valentine Sports Park, Glenwood, where Prime Minister Julia Gillard unveiled an $8 million funding package for football development in western Sydney.
The $8 million federal government funding package includes $5 million to be allocated to improvement of facilities with $1 million of that to go towards the development of women's football and the W-League, while the remaining $3 million will be used for the redevelopment of the Football NSW headquarters.