Brisbane bid should be next A-League entrant, says Bleiberg

Miron Bleiberg believes a second Brisbane team is the natural next cab off the rank as the A-League gears up for expansion.

Bleiberg

Miron Bleiberg during his days as coach of Gold Coast United Source: Getty Images

The former Brisbane Roar and Gold Coast United coach, who is the spokesman for a bid involving former NSL champions Brisbane Strikers and a consortium of assorted backers, said the sudden avalanche of interested parties from around the nation underlined the need to urgently move from a 10 to a 12-team competition.

And his adopted home of Brisbane should, in Bleiberg's view, be fast tracked while the consortium he represents fine-tunes its finances to be ready to make a formal submission in the new year.

"The oxygen of the game is money and logic prevails that the next expansion team should come from a major market like Brisbane where the pay-TV product is larger," he said.

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"There is pressure from the public for expansion ... you see it on social media all the time.

"You can only last so long with a 10 team league, if you want to see the game develop."

The FFA has been inundated with proposals from Tasmania, South Melbourne, Bleiberg's group, West Adelaide, southern Sydney, Geelong and even a second team in Western Australia.



But, with TV interest paramount and a new rights deal due to be inked next year, Bleiberg maintains that FFA's focus should be on the major markets with Brisbane - the country's third largest city - ripe, in his mind, to lead the charge.

He empathizes with FFA's decision not to grant an immediate license to the bid received from Tasmania, explaining: "If AFL and rugby league didn't put a team in Tasmania there is a reason for it ... and that is that the whole economy of sport is built around pay-TV.

"So, we should follow the example of the bigger and smarter codes in this country and go to where the audiences are and that is the big cities.

"This growing interest (from bidders) goes to show there is more money being prepared to be plunged into football than FFA ever probably imagined.

"Nobody comes forward unless they have done the maths seriously and know where they are standing.

"It means there are people ready to back up the game and it's a good surprise for everybody who wants the game to grow in Australia."



Asked the ideal number of teams in a utopian football world, Bleiberg replied: "FIFA's ideal number for its affiliated countries is 18, but under our circumstances in the A-League I would go with 12 in the next year or two and then let it settle for a couple of years and add two more teams.

"Then, if there are the candidates, continue until you reach 18.

"That should include teams from all the regional cities like Hobart, and Canberra and a second team from the major cities.

"Achieve that and we begin to look like a real football country.

"But Rome wasn't built in one day and we need to move carefully."

Commenting on progress of the status of the bid for a rival franchise for the Roar, Bleiberg said. "It's still a work in progress. Initially, it was about putting a bid in did gauge the reaction of FFA.

"Now, reading between the lines with the way David Gallop and FFA are talking, they are putting structure into the process and we are working to be ready for after the New Year.

"We are making sure we don't push ahead without being ready."


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4 min read
Published 15 November 2016 at 8:33pm
By Dave Lewis