Wellington Phoenix have delivered a statement of confidence in their A-League future by extending the contract of defender Louis Fenton.
The second half of Fenton’s two-year deal is for the 2020-21 campaign, a season which may not feature the Phoenix because of stipulations from Football Federation Australia.
Under a long-standing agreement, the Phoenix will only be granted a licence extension beyond next season if they meet crowd size and broadcasting deal targets, along with other “metrics”.
It is unclear if the Kiwi club will satisfy those measures but they believe they can circumvent them, anticipating the league will switch to a club-driven operating model.
Phoenix chairman Rob Morrison is on a working group to determine a possible new structure and said the other clubs all support Wellington’s retention.
A media release on Friday announcing Fenton’s deal didn’t even mention his status as the first player to sign into a season of uncertainty.
The 25-year-old recently surpassed 100 Phoenix appearances since his 2012 debut and said he has plenty more he wants to achieve.
“I’ve always been proud to represent this club and now I want to push on and dream bigger, by targeting finals and then trophies.”
Coach Mark Rudan said he was delighted with the progress of his fullback, who has started all but one game, a just reward for his hard work after several seasons dogged by injury.
The overlapping runs of Fenton and teenage defender Liberato Cacace has been a key element for the sixth-placed Phoenix, who appear on course to reach the finals.