BREAKING: FFA to announce a new Western Sydney A-League team

Davidde Corran Roar Guru

By Davidde Corran, Davidde Corran is a Roar Guru

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    Football Federation of Australia CEO Ben Buckley holds a media press conference. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

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    So this is how Football Federation Australia believes the west will be won.

    Later today, FFA will announce a Western Sydney team funded by the peak body will replace Gold Coast United as the A-League’s 10th team for next season.

    It can’t be overemphasised just how significant a moment this is for the A-League and Australian football.

    FFA is betting the house on this decision coming off, but let’s be clear this is a last resort.

    Upper management at FFA were trawling for investment for a Western Sydney team as far back as when Con Constantine was asked to get involved while being shown the door at Newcastle.

    Since then similar approaches have been made right across the country.

    Earlier this year Paul Lederer, a prominent businessman with strong links to Western Sydney, was personally courted by Frank Lowy before rejecting the idea amongst heavy criticism of FFA’s business plan for the prospective club.

    Couple this with FFA’s history of almost unilateral failure at expansion and it’s a stark background for the A-League to take on the AFL and NRL in the Western suburbs.

    Just last week FFA CEO Ben Buckley wrote on The Roar that expansion into Western Sydney will “only occur when those economic pre-conditions of stability and sustainability exist”.

    For this decision to have been made now, Buckley and Lowy have either worked a miracle in eight days, or are desperate.

    Yet the potential in what many refer to as football’s heartland remains.

    The Daily Telegraph is reporting there are plans to host three marquee games at ANZ Stadium, including the league’s second derby.

    It’s an enticing proposition and one that could further drive the league’s TV ratings at such a decisive time.

    With only 12 months left on the current arrangement with Fox Sports, FFA has openly acknowledged just how crucial the next TV deal is and the decision to immediately expand into Western Sydney is tied to this need.

    But what happens if things go wrong and, this time next year, after having been rushed together in a matter of months, the A-League’s 10th team are languishing both on and off the pitch?

    The stakes couldn’t be any higher.

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    The Crowd Says (282)

    • April 4th 2012 @ 2:14am
      Tangles said | April 4th 2012 @ 2:14am | ! Report

      panic stations anyone?!?

      • April 4th 2012 @ 12:53pm
        PeterK said | April 4th 2012 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

        “Buckley and Lowy have either worked a miracle in eight days, or are desperate”. Tangles, I think you’re right: It’s not a miracle that’s been worked, but there is desperation here.

        • April 4th 2012 @ 7:02pm
          Westie said | April 4th 2012 @ 7:02pm | ! Report

          The FFA are paying for it(with 8 million dollars of taxpayers money). It is desperation and if you are a soccer fan from western Sydney you should be voting for Labour at the next election or it is a waste of cashola.

          Meanwhile the AFL and NRL will be looking at each other going, hang on, how come we don’t get money from the Federal government?

          • April 5th 2012 @ 12:29pm
            PeterK said | April 5th 2012 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

            Westie, has $8M been enough to purchase votes in WSydney?

      • Roar Rookie

        April 4th 2012 @ 1:36pm
        ItsCalled AussieRules said | April 4th 2012 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

        “panic stations” – by whom?

        certainly not the football community of west Sydney.

        This is going to pour at least $5M a year into the West Sydney community and most of the additional $5M from the government is going to grassroots football and the west Sydney W-League team, not the A-League team.

        • April 4th 2012 @ 2:07pm
          PeterK said | April 4th 2012 @ 2:07pm | ! Report

          Yes, ICAR, I for one wish you well. My only concern is that you might be let down by FFA not doing their homework, though by now you’d think FFA could get it right. (Clearly the expansions into NQ and GC were not sustainable — yet!)

          I’m saddened that we still see FFA (and the government) having to prop up clubs, though I’m pleased it happens — what saddens me is that it HAS to happen!

          • Roar Rookie

            April 4th 2012 @ 2:44pm
            ItsCalled AussieRules said | April 4th 2012 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

            PeterK, thanks for your best wishes, but you haven’t read the post, have you.

            The government money is for grassroots and women’s football not the A-League. The government gives football AND NRL AND AFL hundreds of millions of dollars every year for sports participation, upgrading ovals etc etc.

            You have the wrong view of the world, please do some research on the internet before making such ill informed comments.

            • April 5th 2012 @ 12:36pm
              PeterK said | April 5th 2012 @ 12:36pm | ! Report

              ICAR, you still have my best wishes. Yes, I do get some things wrong.

              I apologise for being sloppy in my wording. You did indeed mention the grassroots etc. I was sloppily going on just what Davidde’s article had said, withoutn having noticed the details you had included.

              However, I personally still see that as support for the club — even though it might be a little indirectly.

              Your statements are correct, but my wish is that ALL of us could need to rely less on government funding. (Nevertheless, I recognise that the need is a fact!)

              I’m sufficiently committed to football to want all that is attempted to work very well.

    • April 4th 2012 @ 3:39am
      Football United said | April 4th 2012 @ 3:39am | ! Report

      ffs ANZ stadiums rears it’s ugly head again, honestly this is not the way to pull out all stops to ensure this team is a success. Surely after seeing the other sydney teams supporters like Waratahs and NRL teams who hate the grounds shape size and location, the success of MLS teams in boutique stadiums and other A-League teams who enjoy better atmosphere in smaller grounds, the FFA would realise that Parramatta Stadium should be the only stadium for ALL GAMES. Listen to the west sydney football fans and they will tell you that they want to see a packed out stadium every week to make people want to come back, not play at a less than half empty shell that isn’t even in west sydney.

      • April 4th 2012 @ 4:04am
        Bismark said | April 4th 2012 @ 4:04am | ! Report

        ANZ Stadium would only be used for MARQUE games, maybe 2-3. I think if the idea takes off, Parramatta Stadium wouldn’t be big enough to hold the Sydney Derby, hence you need ANZ to accomodate those extra fans. I can see the first game and the Derby being played at ANZ, but I agree that the rest of the games need to be played at Parramatta Stadium.

        • April 4th 2012 @ 8:35am
          Football United said | April 4th 2012 @ 8:35am | ! Report

          so what if parra isn’t big enough, the point is it creates demand and people have to work hard to get in. as soon as you move to a new stadium you lose the home ground advantage that you have been building up all season because it allows more away supporters in. a sell out crowd creates a pumping atmosphere and those who miss out will be more determined to get their ticket for next week. this is how many of the MLS teams work now and it is proving a major success with

          • April 4th 2012 @ 9:09am
            whiskeymac said | April 4th 2012 @ 9:09am | ! Report

            am sure parra stadium will be big enough unless the expectation is for record attendances.

            • April 4th 2012 @ 12:50pm
              Kasey said | April 4th 2012 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

              I’ve set my pass mark as:

              14,000/game average at season end, 154,000 aggregate, thats a significant growing of the league attendances right there, even with the loss of the 75,493 fans that attended the GCUs final season.

              • April 4th 2012 @ 3:31pm
                Nathan of Perth said | April 4th 2012 @ 3:31pm | ! Report

                I think the advantage a West Sydney FC is going to have over, for instance, Melbourne Heart, is the fact it represents a distinctly different area to SFC, so there’s less supporter cannibalisation going on and a clearer differential beween the two teams.

      • Roar Guru

        April 4th 2012 @ 6:21am
        mds1970 said | April 4th 2012 @ 6:21am | ! Report

        It comes down to money. Parra Stadium will charge the new team an expensive rent for the ground. ANZ has other revenue streams, and they will pay the new club to play there.

        • Roar Guru

          April 4th 2012 @ 8:54am
          SportsFanGC said | April 4th 2012 @ 8:54am | ! Report

          It will look absolutely ridiculous to have any games played at ANZ stadium. Why not play ALL games at Parramatta for the first season, get a feel for the numbers of fans through the gate and see if there is actually any demand to play any games at an 80,000 seat stadium.

          At the moment, based on the Sydney markets ability to actually go to live sport in that city, staging games at ANZ will just be another slap in the face for the A-League – pretty similar to playing games at Skilled Stadium on the GC execpt with about 60,000 extra seats!

          • Roar Guru

            April 4th 2012 @ 1:07pm
            mds1970 said | April 4th 2012 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

            I’m not disputing that 5,000 in an 80,000-seat stadium won’t look good and a smaller stadium would produce a better atmosphere.
            But I suspect the difference between having to pay to play at a smaller ground and being paid to play at ANZ would produce a more lucrative bottom line financially; and the dollars may be the decisive factor.

            • April 4th 2012 @ 8:36pm
              Simmo said | April 4th 2012 @ 8:36pm | ! Report

              I completely agree with mds1970. Stadium deals make or break football clubs. ANZ Stadium could well make this club an offer they can’t refuse so we shouldn’t get too hung up on the idea of 10,000 people in an 80,000 seat stadium if that 10k crowd is handsomely profitable for the club.

              Financial survival is paramount

    • April 4th 2012 @ 6:37am
      Kasey said | April 4th 2012 @ 6:37am | ! Report

      An exciting and courageous decision by the FFA. I look forward to not only the 3 Harbour city derbies, but the whole day today reading from alleged football fans why this cant possibly work. I swear football fans in this country are the most negative people on the planet. they could find fault with the Second coming of Jesus.
      I I predict the negatives will come from 2 camps:
      1. supposed football fans who have never had a positive thing to say about the game locally.
      2. fans of other codes who will like sheeple, will join in the negativity, its not like there’s a whole state of news paper articles like Victoria has to support the similar move by the AFL in creating GWS is there?
      Its exciting for the potential and it’s courageous because like the AFL, the FFA is using its own money to kick start this venture, but unlike the AFL, the FFA isn’t exactly rolling in cash. I’m proud that the FFA obviously believes in the game enough to think it will be a success, now its up to the people of Western Sydney to get off their arses and support it I suppose. I guess this ends the hopes of the small band of GCU fans hoping for a reprieve for their team.

      • April 4th 2012 @ 6:56am
        ManInBlack said | April 4th 2012 @ 6:56am | ! Report

        Kasey –
        there was not a whole state of newspaper articles from Victoria supporting the AFL in creating GWS. There was massive (and still is) scepticism and concern.

        The general feel in Vic was that the Gold Coast was fair enough – there was enough grass roots support and SouthportFC could’ve done it themselves just about – – but that GWS might be a ‘bridge too far’.

        Good luck to the FFA – it’s a brave move – perhaps they could share ‘Skoda Stadium’ with the Giants???

        re the FFA bankrolling it – – I’d far prefer this than the FFA street walking to attract the first super rich fellow willing to part with his cash. There’s a name for that.

        The FFA invariably ends up bankrolling part or all of clubs these days – so, why not?!

        And for the Gold Coast – surely that means curtains. Which for FFA’s QLD ventures, ….. 1 out of 3 surviving isn’t a good look in that state. I’d give it to the NRL on points except the Titans are looking wobbly too!!!!

        • April 4th 2012 @ 6:59am
          Titus said | April 4th 2012 @ 6:59am | ! Report

          Skoda is the wrong shape, nothing could be worse than not providing the supporters with the fundamentals of Football.

          I would make Parra home, with Sydney Derbies and maybe Victory games at Homebush, and take a couple of games to Penrith and Campbelltown.

          • April 4th 2012 @ 7:04am
            ManInBlack said | April 4th 2012 @ 7:04am | ! Report

            It was a joke (Skoda).

            btw – just read in theAge that :

            Ms Gillard will announce $3 million to redevelop the Football NSW headquarters at Parklea, the report said.

            A further $5 million of federal funding will be spent on growing the sport’s popularity in the western suburbs.

            Interesting, surely that’s the one region that doesn’t need funding to grow the sport’s popularity. Isn’t that $5 mill poorly spent???? Or is it aimed at ‘co-ercing’ those who might hold old NSL allegiances to move to the ‘dark side’ as they might see it??

            • April 4th 2012 @ 7:15am
              Kasey said | April 4th 2012 @ 7:15am | ! Report

              I LOLed at the Skoda stadium bait, but imagine if WS appointed the available Miron Blieberg as coach, a joint presser with Kevin Sheedy would be a sports journalists wet dream!

            • April 4th 2012 @ 7:53am
              Stevo said | April 4th 2012 @ 7:53am | ! Report

              Yes, the ALP needs all the help they can get at the moment!

            • April 4th 2012 @ 11:23am
              adam said | April 4th 2012 @ 11:23am | ! Report

              it is horrific mis use of money.

              I don’t begrudge soccer getting it, almost every sport needs funding, but the FFA have clearly shown they have no strategy, yet the Fed Govt throw money at it – AGAIN! Helps that Lundy is a soccer fan. Plenty of other sports have their (stuff) together better than the FFA yet they get no support from the Federal Government.

              • April 4th 2012 @ 12:04pm
                JAJI said | April 4th 2012 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

                Excuse me Adam have you driven down Driver Avenue Moore Park the last 3 months? NRL Headquarters in the most farcically large building you have ever seen – probably to house Gallop’s ego. Have a guess how much of that came from Government coffers. Ditto the new SCG development, ditto $250 million being thrown at a fledgling car industry – its peanuts

          • April 4th 2012 @ 8:51am
            Kasey said | April 4th 2012 @ 8:51am | ! Report

            Limiting the size of the stadium is the prime reason that MLS has advanced from one to 16 Soccer Specific Stadiums in recent times. Playing in cavernous NFL stadiums ruins the atmosphere. Playing in a nice tidy sold-out 20-25k every week develops the desire for those curious about the game to seek out a ticket and make the effort to attend. Supply and demand Even Seattle, who play in the Seahawks 50k Stadium artificially reduce capacity by tarping off the upper decks to set capacity at 36k. If you cant rely on just walking up to the stadium and purchasing a ticket, then you have to shell out for a season ticket/membership, all of which adds to the bottom line and survivability of the organisation. Parra has a capacity of 21k. If they could sell that out on a semi regular basis and move the derbies to ANZ for an occasional bumper 40k crowd(WSFC + SFC + interested neutrals) then that would be a huge shot in the ar for the image of the game in this country.

            • April 4th 2012 @ 9:23am
              whiskeymac said | April 4th 2012 @ 9:23am | ! Report

              without a doubt smaller stadiums are the go – hindmarsh here is a good example – but also dont forget the US has a massive population. Smaller cities like Seattle are Sydney-esque in size. its easier to fill 20K if the population is 4million than it is in regional australia. Just a though ‘sall.

              • April 4th 2012 @ 3:11pm
                apaway said | April 4th 2012 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

                Actually, Whiskeymac, the only city in the USA with a larger population than Sydney is New York, with 8,175,000. Los Angeles is second with 3,792,000, then Chicago with 2,695,000. Seattle has a population of 608,660, according to Wikipedia.

              • April 4th 2012 @ 3:34pm
                Nathan of Perth said | April 4th 2012 @ 3:34pm | ! Report

                The US is stricter on where city ends and where greater country begins than we are.

              • April 4th 2012 @ 5:15pm
                Whites said | April 4th 2012 @ 5:15pm | ! Report


                Wow, seriously. Excellent research uncovering the truth about the size of American cities.

          • Roar Guru

            April 4th 2012 @ 8:56am
            SportsFanGC said | April 4th 2012 @ 8:56am | ! Report

            Spot on Titus re: grounds to be used

      • April 4th 2012 @ 9:16am
        whiskeymac said | April 4th 2012 @ 9:16am | ! Report

        second coming of jesus – they signed Kennedy?
        boom tish
        i must admit my first reaction was this seemed a bit “sudden” – who are the main backers?- and the FFA dont have a record of expansion or of winning big gambles (what happened in 2010 stays in 2010) but i for one will get behind a West Sydney team, living in the blue mountains there arent much love from SFC, and altho CCM will be my first team i can see myself being more active with this one. Big hill to climb though, the giants have already got my 5yo playing – lets see what eventuates once the dust settles.

      • April 4th 2012 @ 9:23am
        Kasey said | April 4th 2012 @ 9:23am | ! Report

        Okay in terms of coverage, my officein Adelaide listens to MMM(bogan rock FM) and even they are talking about the announcement of a WS team on their sports report – after the obligatory 15 minute rundown on the Crows/Power AFL minutiae;) If this is an example of what the power of WS can do then this gamble could be the biggest move the FFA has made since the launch of the HAL. Bring it on I say! Imagine the boost to the game in raw figures alone by replacing in the 30,000 a season GCU with the 20,000 per game WS team?

      • April 4th 2012 @ 3:01pm
        apaway said | April 4th 2012 @ 3:01pm | ! Report

        Actually, Kasey, I could find a lot wrong with the second coming of Jesus…:)

        A Western Sydney A-League team on the other hand is a good thing.

    • April 4th 2012 @ 6:39am
      Crashy said | April 4th 2012 @ 6:39am | ! Report

      Anz stadium only pay clubs to play there. The Tahs get a million a season but have to attract a minimum of 30k to attend their 2 games. It all comes down to what sort of crowd the club would attract. The FFA need to be very careful about this expansion as it has the potential to cost them a fortune if not executed properly.

    • April 4th 2012 @ 6:57am
      Titus said | April 4th 2012 @ 6:57am | ! Report

      Good news for Football and the west.

      I think if the FFA just focusses on getting the football right and making the team a continuation of the proud history of Football in the area, then it will eventually be a success.

      No gimmicks, no plasticity, just good football.

    • Roar Guru

      April 4th 2012 @ 7:08am
      Fussball ist unser leben said | April 4th 2012 @ 7:08am | ! Report

      Fantastic news by the FFA. Finally MVFC will have a team that will seriously challenge as the biggest football fan base in Australia.

      I still have faint hope for the survival of GCU – if they can get the funding right – and then, hopefully, Tassie &/or Canberra in the next 2-3 years.

      10 years ago, domestic football in Australia was on its knees. Now, we have 3 Aussie teams showcasing the HAL all over Asia and, I have no doubt, next year we’ll see a record number of Aussies attending HAL matches.

      Still a lot work to be done before we can feel comfortable about the HAL but, if these are “the worst of times”, can you imagine when we hit “the best of times”?

      Football fans in Australia really have this as our theme song:
      We get knocked down
      But we get up again
      You’re never going to keep us down

      • April 4th 2012 @ 8:17am
        Kasey said | April 4th 2012 @ 8:17am | ! Report

        For those concerned this hasn’t been done before and is a mighty risk, remember there is precedent in HAL circles. A little club called Melbourne Victory were unable to raise the required capital for entry into the inaugural season of the HAL. FFA stumped up the cash to help them out and look at them now (recent soap opera issues aside, they are undisputedly the best supported club in the league) I see no reason why WS team couldn’t eventually rival that claim.

        • April 4th 2012 @ 9:07am
          Simmo said | April 4th 2012 @ 9:07am | ! Report

          The problem is the credibility gap between the A-League and FFA on the one hand and the legions of part-time fans/EuroSnobs etc. Rushing this venture is unlikely to develop a competent and credible football club.

          This is a bad idea.

          • April 4th 2012 @ 1:07pm
            PeterK said | April 4th 2012 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

            Simmo, “rushing it” is the bad part of the idea. I’m sure WSydney should have a team, but unless there’s been an awful lot of behind-the-scenes work already done, it will be an extremely big ask to get it together properly ready for HAL8.

            IMHO, the effort should be instead put into keeping GCU afloat for one more season (to give the fans a chance to prove they want it now that Big Clive has gone) meanwhile allowing WSydney and maybe a few others to put together bids for an expansion of two more clubs in HAL9 — but even then, only if the bids are good enough.

            Perhaps the propped-up GCU and all the new bids could be considered together, and just the single best one chosen for HAL9.

      • April 4th 2012 @ 8:49am
        Delije Sever said | April 4th 2012 @ 8:49am | ! Report

        Pfft. If it’s such a lucrative area why isn’t any private investor putting in their money? Shows how much of a mickey mouse league we’ve become under Buckley that the federation needs to set up a team. A 6 team finals serious is also stupid.

        • April 4th 2012 @ 1:10pm
          PeterK said | April 4th 2012 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

          Yes, Delije Sever, I think that the fact that no-one seems to want to risk their money (other than the FFA) ought to tell us that all those with dough think it’s very risky.

          Mind you I hope they’re wrong, and I hope the venture succeeds — and even exceeds all expectations.

      • April 4th 2012 @ 9:19am
        whiskeymac said | April 4th 2012 @ 9:19am | ! Report

        a song about binge drinking probably not the best anthem to hoist ones colours too unless you support Millwall circa 1985.
        Love the enthusiasm though Fuss, you are the eternal optimist, your glass is always half full. Maybe the song does fit…

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