Mariners owner backs relegation format which could scupper his club

Central Coast Mariner owner Mike Charlesworth - whose embattled A-League club would be at high risk should a promotion/relegation format be introduced in Australia - has voiced his strong support for the formula.

Fabio Ferreira

Fabio Ferreira laments another Central Coast Mariners loss this season Source: Getty Images

Taking a stance some may view as akin to an alcoholic voting for prohibition, Charlesworth insists that Australia adopting a system which abounds elsewhere in the world "would only enhance the long term success" of the A-League as its founders seek a panacea for a competition on a path to stagnation. 

With the floundering Mariners in danger of acquiring a second successive wooden spoon, as the season heads into the final two rounds, and the promotion/relegation debate high on the agenda, Charlesworth said: "I theoretically should be the least likely person to be promoting this". 

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"We've been down around the bottom of the league consistently of late ... but this is about the growth of Aussie football. 

"From a pragmatic standpoint, if the infrastructure is right, you want a promotion/relegation system. 

"But there would need to be significant conditions attached around financial investment, stadium and training facilities. 



"After around $250 million worth of investment from the A-League owners to date, we cannot allow the league to be devalued in any way. 

"However, if significant investors with the right motivations are out there they should be allowed to compete to gain promotion and subsequently expand the league." 

Whilst happy to add his support to a model being propagated by the newly-formed NPL collective, under the banner of the Association of Australian Football Clubs, Charlesworth also feels the FFA should not delay much longer on an expansion model, which has a number of well-funded embryonic entities knocking on the door.

"That interest from outside the competition seeking to be a part of the top league can drive a lot of new investment and energy," he said of bids from southern Sydney, Brisbane, Tasmania, Geelong and elsewhere. 



"There's no doubt a lot of money is waiting to be invested and some of this should be paid to the existing 10 clubs as in the case of the Wanderers' sale to private investors. 

"Obviously there’s a lot of detail to work through but the FFA are one of the best funded federations globally and should have the resources internally to work through these opportunities faster. 

"The league needs to grow beyond 10 clubs - I think everybody agrees with that - and we need to harness new investment and energy from those prepared to spend."


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3 min read
Published 6 April 2017 at 3:53pm
By Dave Lewis