Sunshine Coast A-League bid forces critical meeting

A meeting next week between football club owner Noel Woodall and businessman Nirav Tripathi will have a major influence on whether Sunshine Coast bids for inclusion in an expanded A-League.

Sunshine Coast FC

Sunshine Coast FC logo Source: Facebook

Woodall, a lawyer who founded Sunshine Coast FC a decade ago, said he had been considering making a bid for some time.

Tripathi, a Brisbane-based, Indian businessman, has recently been in talks with Woodall's company about possibly joining forces with SCFC in a bid.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) is expected to release the expansion criteria for potential bids soon, with the likelihood of two clubs being added to the competition in 2018-19.

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"I've met with the gentleman only once," Woodall told The World Game. "My staff have met with him two or three times.



"We're still a fair way away from any type of arrangement, but I'll be meeting with him again myself next week.

"I've asked some pretty probing questions, I suppose, and I want some answers on things before we hang our reputation with him.

"So we're happy to talk, but we're looking for something concrete because before we would join in a bid together we want to be happy with it."

A report in The Courier-Mail newspaper on December 17 said Tripathi had a consortium of overseas businessmen "ready to bankroll a bid".

Tripathi was quoted in the report saying: "My idea for an A-League club on the Sunshine Coast is real."

He added that he had studied A-League clubs and concluded that single-investor models were likely to fail, adding: "I don’t want to repeat history. I want to do the right things with the right people.”



Woodall told The World Game his company did due diligence on potential investors as a normal process, the same as it would on players or coaches they were considering signing.

He said that while Sunshine Coast FC might be in a position to make a bid on its own, with the team playing out of a revamped Sunshine Coast Stadium at Kawana Waters, substantial financial backing from the outside as part of a joint forces bid "may advance any plans we have to bid for a position".

"Whether we would be ready for the latest round of potential expansion on our own is something we would have to decide," Woodall said.

"Practically speaking, we've got to make sure we've got the facilities FFA consider appropriate to make us a real contender. I think that's possible with council support and that we're not far away from that.

"My company has put millions of dollars into the development of the club over a 10-12 year period. We have our own schools programs and a full-time and part-time coaching staff of 32. It's not a small club.

"I've been around a long time and I know a lot of people. Some people don't like me, some people do like me, but at the end of the day they know we're about advancing the game.



"If the gentleman stacks up once we've finished our process, then we'll look at joining up with him in a bid. If not, we've still got our own plans and we'll decide by mid-year ourselves whether to go ahead.

"We don't mind there is a potential investor, but we've got certain criteria going forward we would expect him to meet.

"We'll see what he's got to say and if we can put a deal together we may well go with it. He wants to put something together pretty quickly. I'll probably know within the next month whether a deal can be done."


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4 min read
Published 14 January 2017 at 3:57pm
By Greg Prichard