A-League hopefuls Wolves hold critical meeting with Football South Coast

Representatives of Football South Coast (FSC) and expansion-bid club Wollongong Wolves have engaged in a critical meeting as the battle for inclusion in an enlarged A-League heats up.

Wollongong Wolves

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Football Federation Australia (FFA) may not have released expansion criteria or declared a time-line for the addition of new teams, but serious bid groups are working feverishly behind the scenes to be ready when it happens. 

Wolves chairman Chris Papakosmas led a delegation from the National Premier League (NPL) and former National Soccer League (NSL) club that met with the board of FSC, the governing body for the region.

The relationship between the two groups has been strained, with Wolves supporters adamant the South Coast would be best represented in the national competition by the stand-alone club while FSC is open to supporting any credible bids, including that by the Southern Expansion group.

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Southern Expansion aims to cover the South Coast and Wollongong as part of a wider area, starting from the southern suburbs of Sydney.

Both Papakosmas and FSC chairman Eddy De Gabriele described the meeting as positive and a major step towards the establishment of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two groups that would make FSC's support official.

FSC already have an MOU with Southern Expansion.

"They came and told us what they aspire to do and how they're steaming ahead with their bid for inclusion in the A-League," De Gabriele said.

"The talk was about how we can work together and move forward in rectifying the relationship that hasn't been so good in the past.

"The board asked a lot of questions. We need to understand what the structure of the Wolves is, is it a private company, is it not for profit, is it a company guaranteed? We can't back something if we don't know what it is and we also asked for some financial details.

"The end result was that they will nominate a couple of people for a sub-committee and we'll have two or three board members on that same sub-committee and we'll work over the next couple of months with the aim of coming up with something we can put pen to paper on regarding an MOU."

Papakosmas said one of the club's biggest goals was to give current junior players in the area a genuine target to aim at in terms of a senior playing career.

Wollongong has produced talents like Socceroos Scott Chipperfield and Mile Sterjovski in the past, while Adam Federici was the headline star for the Wolves' bid.

"There have been initial discussions with FSC to start the ball rolling," Papakosmas said. "It's about trying to link in as many interested stakeholders and parties as possible to ensure there are the best possible pathways for the kids, boys and girls, to be able to progress and grow within a reasonable proximity of their backyard."



FSC has maintained its overwhelming aim is to ensure the area is somehow represented in an expanded A-League, keeping the door open for a Wollongong bid, despite already having arrangements with Southern Expansion.

"We're not the interviewing party when it comes to expansion - that's FFA," De Gabriele said. "If FFA want to go with Wolves and we have an MOU with them, then no problem.

"Southern Expansion understand we have to look after our best interests. We're about open communication with the bid groups."

Wolves supported Brisbane Roar star and former Socceroo Jade North's 'Kickin With A Cuz' program that has just made its first stop in Wollongong and Papakosmas said the club would continue to roll out community engagement programs as part of their community outreach.

"The main thing for us is to use our reach, our brand, our players, our IP, to not only make significant advancements on the field, but a huge difference off the field," said Papakosmas.

"With each step we take, more people are coming onboard for the ride, so it shows what faith and belief and hope there is within the whole region, not just the Illawarra, for a resurgent, mighty and positive Wolves."


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4 min read
Published 23 June 2017 at 3:26pm
By Greg Prichard