The current European Championship qualification structure must be reformed.
Socceroo great and Melbourne City striker Tim Cahill has added his voice to the cacophony calling for A-League expansion.
And he’s not afraid of another Melbourne or Victorian club – possibly South Melbourne – coming into the competition on City’s doorstep.
Enthusiasm behind expansion has pushed A-League chiefs to confirm their intent to bring in two teams for the 2018/19 season, with a formal process to be confirmed in the new year.
Cahill said his experience from playing professionally in England, China and the US showed him the 10-team league was too lean.
“There’s not enough teams,” he told Fox Sports, citing the need to develop more young talent.
“The more teams, the more competition, the more players we have coming through and the more of a meat market we have for our young Australians.”
The 37-year-old also said he was against below-par teams playing finals and “getting in the back door and winning the league”, as could happen with a six-team finals series with a 10-team league.
But Cahill’s ambition for the sport was the primary driver behind his support for the expansion process.
“The fans need to be fed an appetite of football. The players do too,” he said.
Where those clubs should be is anyone’s guess – and there have been plenty of guesses – but Cahill said the most important thing was a smart process.
“If there’s another team in Melbourne – no problems. If there’s another team in Sydney – no problems. A team in Tasmania,” he said.
“We need clear criteria for what they can produce so they can have that portfolio and we know what they’ve got to aim for.”
One of the threats to expansion is existing clubs concerned for their own growth attempting to curb the arrival of new sides.
City might have more to worry about than most on that front, given their non-derby matches average below 10,000 people this season – even with Cahill’s arrival.
The veteran striker said he could feel growth in the wings.
“You look at Melbourne Victory and you have to respect what they’ve grown,” he said.
“We’re not in a competition for their fans or trying to take their fans. We’re trying to build our own culture.
“When you win trophies and you win derbies it helps. It’s still very early stages as to where we want to be.
“We’re trying to do it the right way. And its ruffling a few feathers. But it’s not out of disrespect to the league or anything we play against.”