Gallop reveals why winning expansion bids were successful
FFA CEO David Gallop said the high-quality facilities and growth corridors that bids from both Western Melbourne Group and Macarthur South West Sydney represented were the key factors in them winning licences into the Hyundai A-League.
FFA announced on Thursday that Western Melbourne Group would enter the Hyundai A-League in the 2019/20 season, with Macarthur South West Sydney to follow the season after.
Western Melbourne Group’s promise to build a privately funded 15,000-seat stadium - joined by a training and administration complex - was a key plank of their bid.
And Gallop said the prospect excited him on what he described as a “great news day for Australian football and the A-League”.
“This is going to set the A-League up for long-term sustainability in these locations but importantly, as well, the decisions have taken us to a point where we can ensure that the new clubs are in high-quality facilities from day one,” Gallop said.
“Obviously with West Melbourne, there’s an opportunity to do something quite unique and something that we’ve seen successful in football globally, which is to have a purpose-built football stadium.
“West Melbourne is a growth corridor and the prospect of having our own stadium built out there is exciting indeed.”
Western Melbourne Group will play out of Geelong’s Kardinia Park for their first two Hyundai A-League seasons as their purpose-built stadium in Tarneit - 25km west of Melbourne and 50km north-east of Geelong - is built.
Gallop said that during that period the team would still “be in a facility that will present the game well and have a playing surface that is comfortable for our players.”
Expanding on Macarthur South West Sydney’s admission to the Hyundai A-League, Gallop said Macarthur was “obviously a huge population corridor”.
“[It is] an area that has nearly 50 local and NPL football clubs,” he said.
“An important part of the journey of the last year has been to make sure that we’re engaging with those clubs and I’m sure those who will be in charge of the club will look to make sure that their links with the grassroots of the Macarthur area are strong.
“All in all, [I am] delighted that we have reached this point.
“The staggered approach [to Macarthur South West Sydney’s entry] is important. We want to make sure that we are giving these clubs the best possible opportunity to have success on day one.”
That was a view echoed by FFA chairman Chris Nikou, who said the decision to delay Macarthur South West Sydney’s entry was because “we want to give both bids the best chance of success.”
“We’re setting them up for long-term success,” he added.
On the winning bids, Nikou said: “Each [winning bid] gives us a wonderful footprint into growth corridors in the Australian marketplace and position us for the long-term game of advancing football in this country.”