Let six new teams in to bolster A-League, declares Bleiberg

Football Federation Australia have been urged to double or even treble the number of clubs allotted entry into the A-League in 2019-20, as up to 15 hopefuls hammer at the door.

Miron Bleiberg

Former A-League manager Miron Bleiberg has called for as many as six teams to be added to the A-League Source: gwtt

Leading the calls to fast tack consortiums with the means to sustain “a long term presence” and the ability to attract a supporter base of between 5,000 to 10,000, is former Brisbane Roar and Gold Coast United coach cum business identity Miron Bleiberg.

Entries close on expressions of interest during this latest round of expansion on Thursday and while the Bleiberg-backed Brisbane Strikers bid has been taken off the table, he still sees a significant swelling of the A-League numbers as a panacea for the competition.

Speaking after the Strikers bid officially pulled out of the race this week - leaving Brisbane City still in the running to provide a second Queensland team - Bleiberg said: “If there are, for example, six good, sustainable, well financed bids then why not grant them all entry.

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“Why stick to just two, which would only bring the number of teams to 12, when you can be ambitious and have 14 or even 16 ready to kick off in 2019-2020?

“It looks like there are a lot of credible bidders out there and there is genuine momentum around the whole process at the moment.

“If the the consortiums in question pass all the financial criteria tests now then why wait and perhaps risk their interest going away.

“You don’t know how long that momentum will be there, so why not exploit it, when it’s right there in front of you.”

While the Strikers have pulled the pin, Bleiberg threw his support behind the remaining Brisbane City bid, declaring: “The decision has been made by the Strikers and there’s nothing more for me to add on that.

“But there’s a window of opportunity now to strengthen the league and broaden its appeal (for fans, TV rights holders and sponsors) and for the good of football it should be maximized.

“I wish them all luck, and especially in the case of a second Brisbane team because it’s needed to help boost Brisbane Roar as much as anything.”

There is a second Queensland bid from a reborn Gold Coast United, the club which entered the A-League in 2008 amid the colour and fanfare whipped up by controversial owner Clive Palmer before being booted out by FFA after a string of bust ups with the mining magnate three years later.

Bleiberg has no preferences over which regions or cities should be favoured during the process of whittling down the bidders.

“What is most important is that whoever has the strongest case to flourish in the long term should win out,” he said.



“And that includes financial viability and the ability to attract crowds.

“You don’t want teams playing in front of 1500 (as was sometimes the case during the dying days of Gold Coast United).

“There are plenty of teams in Europe who bring in 5-7,000 and have long histories. That can be enough.

“You don’t always need 20,000-plus. In Australia, I see 5-10,000 as realistic for new teams coming in.”


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3 min read
Published 22 May 2018 at 11:59am
By Dave Lewis