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Aug 21, 2013

Panthers chief slams FFA boss Gallop

Panthers Group supremo Warren Wilson has accused David Gallop of being short-sighted after the Football Federation Australia (FFA) chief executive rebuffed his efforts to buy the Western Sydney Wanderers.

Wilson, whose remit includes overseeing the Penrith Panthers NRL club and the Panthers Leagues Club, made an expression of interest in bringing last season's A-League grand finalists under the group's umbrella.

Work will start on the state of the art Western Sydney Community and Sports Precinct on a 200-acre site behind Panthers Leagues Club early next year which will be completed by mid-2016.

Wilson wanted the Wanderers to help the Panthers become one of the biggest sporting franchises in Australia.

But before he could even put his plans forward to the FFA, he was told there would be no dialogue between the two parties with Gallop then telling News Limited he wouldn't contemplate selling to a club from a rival code.

"They hired UBS to put out an expression of interest and we applied into that methodology," Wilson said.

"We were than told we couldn't go to stage two and there was no rhyme or reason until today's papers.

"I find it a little bit strange, I thought they would have at least spoken to us, asked our credentials, asked us what our thoughts are.

"Looking at today's papers they are worried about jersey colours, names etc, well someone should have at least asked us 'would you do that'?

"We're not interested in changing their colours, we're interested in having a look at good sporting opportunities.

"That's what it's all about."

Former NRL chief Gallop also questioned why a club from another code would want to invest their money and build up a rival.

However, Wilson said the plan would be to run the NRL and A-League teams together, not against one another, just like the Newcastle Knights and Jets do.

"One is a winter sport, one is a summer sport," he said.

"Newcastle have rival codes sitting side by side, Parramatta did years ago.

"It happens overseas. We're just the head body which is Penrith RLC underneath that we have nine individual clubs around NSW.

"I think this is a big miss for soccer, we have the Western Sydney Sports Community Centre which will be built here which will be massive.

"We have 200 acres out here which we are developing and we are setting ourselves up as a massive sport and community franchise.

"I think it is a bit short-sighted than they didn't even say hello."

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