SYDNEY, Australia's football chiefs Thursday announced two new clubs � one from Sydney and one in Melbourne � will be joining the ALeague in a bid to create new rivalries and opportunities for players.
A proposed expansion to 12 teams has been in the works for a year and
Football Federation Australia chairman Chris Nikou announced the successful
bidders from a shortlist of six were consortiums from Western Melbourne and
Southwest Sydney, with Canberra snubbed.
An expanded ALeague will connect new communities in our two biggest
markets, create new rivalries, bigger television audiences, more derbies and
importantly, further opportunities for Australian footballers to play at the
highest level in this country, said Nikou.
The competition will expand over two seasons, with Western Melbourne
joining in 2019/20 and the Sydney club a year later.
Of the 12 teams in the new setup, three will be from Melbourne and three
from Sydney, with the prospect of more fiercelycontested derby games.
The others are from Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, the Central Coast north of
Sydney, Newcastle and Wellington in New Zealand.
We have seen unprecedented interest from bids to be part of the ALeague
and we are excited about our two new expansion clubs in Sydney and
Melbourne, said Nikou.
He said a key factor in their decision was the longterm growth
opportunities for each club in the new locations.
Southwest Sydney and Melbourne represent some of the biggest growth
corridors in Australia, he added, with the competition potentially expanding
to more than 12 teams.
Canberra was widely seen as a strong bid, but missed out.
Nikou said having football in the Australian capital remained on their
radar and discussions with Canberra would continue.
The ALeague first kicked off in 2005 in an eightteam format. Its
success, with decent crowds and a growing television audience, saw it expand
to 10 teams in the 2009/10 season.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)