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Miron Bleiberg has urged Football Federation Australia to take full advantage of a surfeit of A-League expansion bidders and start planning for an 18-team competition now.
Two teams will be added in the 2018-19 season to make it a 12-team league, but Bleiberg – who is associated with a Brisbane Strikers bid – sees no reason why the governing body should stop there.
Close to a dozen different parties are waiting on criteria to be released by FFA in February before they progress further with their proposals.
Bleiberg believes with enthusiasm for the A-League so high at the moment, no strong applications should be turned away.
“FFA has done an excellent job with the A-League in the last few years. You can see how many bidders there are, it is a hot commodity,” Bleiberg told AAP.
“From what it looks to me, there are a lot of strong bids.
“So for me, it’s not enough for FFA to think in the short-term to admit two teams now into the A-League to expand it to 12.
“They also have to look at the future and also give a guideline about when it will be extended to 14, 16 and 18 so these strong bids will not disappear.
“Whatever markets suit FFA should be for the immediate future, but the others should also be used to get us to the ideal number.”
A-League chief Greg O’Rourke told News Corp earlier this week any new team would have to “add value” for all existing stakeholders.
He also said FFA’s primary focus for the next five to seven years would be expansion, determining the right number of teams and the right markets.
It’s expected FFA will heavily favour teams based in major population centres, like Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, to provide the biggest boost to the A-League’s incoming broadcast deal for this round of expansion.
But impressive regional bids from Tasmania and Wollongong will make it a complex decision – which is why Bleiberg wants them to strike while the iron’s hot.
“Now is the right time, the A-League’s doing well – credit to FFA – and everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon. Maybe tomorrow that will not be the case,” Bleiberg said.