EXCLUSIVE: Sutherland would help build A-League club, but not own it

Sutherland Shire Football Association would support the idea of a "community-built" A-League club in their area, but wouldn't want to own it.

Southern Cross Stadium

Southern Cross Stadium could soon play home to an A-League franchise. Source: Getty Images

SSFA's new president, Matt Brady, told The World Game the best concept as far as the association was concerned would be for Football Federation Australia (FFA) to initially fund a new club and seek a buyer after it was established.

He said SSFA would be prepared to offer its expertise and provide the benefit of its giant footprint in the area to help get the club off the ground and make it successful as quickly as possible.

That assistance could extend to helping to source potential investors in the southern Sydney area.

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Southern Sydney has been identified as one of the preferred areas for consideration by FFA for possible expansion as early as the 2018-19 season. FFA CEO David Gallop has made it clear he believes there should be a priority to "fish where the fish are".

Brady said he could see such an idea bearing fruit with the support of the St George Football Association and Football South Coast, but that he felt it was up to FFA to initiate further discussions.

"The Sutherland Shire definitely supports the idea of a community-built A-League franchise," Brady said.

"We talked to St George and Football South Coast and it's definitely where the fish are, there's no doubt about that.

"We've had previous discussions with FFA and if they wished to open up further discussions we would be happy to engage, but in the meantime we'll focus on what we regularly do at grass-roots level and look after our 26 clubs and 20,000 players.

"If anything developed, we would obviously have to discuss that with our member clubs and go from there."

Asked what his definition of a community-built or community-based A-League club was, Brady replied: "Well, we wouldn't go in and just run the whole thing.

"It would have to be owned by FFA at the start and on-sold later on, I would think. We would be part of building it so the people will come, but we wouldn't have a financial stake in it. The club and its players would need to engage with the community as an absolute priority. That would be my view."

When it was suggested to Brady that FFA may not want to own an expansion club, even in the initial stages, and may be in a position to pick from bids that already have financial backing, he said it depended on what FFA wanted from a new club.

He said SSFA and their neighbouring associations were potentially in a position to encourage their massive player bases to support a new franchise through the purchase of club memberships.

"Are they after a membership for the team's games or are they after a financial backer that controls it," he said.

"One possibility is that a financial backer could be attracted from our area and which uses our expertise. We've got a strong history down here in Sutherland and we could support that if the investors were aligned with our values and our charter.



"I believe that, overall, our members would support a community-built A-League franchise in the southern part.

"I think it would have to be a combination - St George and FSC and ourselves. The machinations of how it would all work I'm not sure, but I've got some ideas.

"If FFA want to come forward and talk to us as a collective board representing the 26 clubs within our area, along with St George and FSC, we'd be happy to do so."


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4 min read
Published 20 December 2016 at 11:11am
By Greg Prichard