EXCLUSIVE: After months of behind the scenes work, South Melbourne FC are close to clinching an agreement to compete in Singapore's FA Cup competition later this year.
It's understood the idea has the support of the Singapore FA and that the historic move could be signed off within days.
FFA is set to formally respond to the Singapore football authorities by Monday with the Aussie national governing body in-principle supporters of a local club in the tournament.
South reps have visited Singapore in recent months and have worked tirelessly with their FA and financial community about the proposed idea. The Melbourne club remains hot favourite for a spot in the Cup as it's believed no other club has applied to Singapore.
If given the green light, South would fly into the tiny island state to compete in the early rounds of the FA Cup next month.
Should the club win through, the later rounds begin in September through to November. The idea is another boost for Australia's World Cup bid in a year when the Socceroos represent AFC at the 2010 World Cup.
South Melbourne Chairman Nick Galatas told au.fourfourtwo.com today the plan was a fillip for second tier clubs like South who compete in the VPL (Victorian Premier League) and want to expand their brand.
"We believe this is a positive for Australian football as it strengthens our nation's links within our own confederation the AFC.
"At the same time it gives clubs outside the A-League an opportunity to compete in a new competition - that's exciting for the players and no doubt will be embraced by our fan-base.
"It will strengthen Australia's second tier clubs and therefore strengthen our state leagues. What's more, we don't yet have an FA Cup style competition or a B-League here in Australia.
"So were very excited at the potential of this idea to help boost clubs outside the A-League while flying the Aussie flag in the AFC."
For Singapore foreign clubs is not a new idea. For example, the S-League also features representative sides from Japanese club Albirex Niigata and Beijing Guoan.
As for the standard, the S-League has been described as a slightly better standard than our major state leagues such as the VPL and NSW Premier League.
Should Souths deal be signed off, it could be the catalyst for more Aussie clubs to be invited to join Singapores FA Cup competition in future years.
If the plan goes ahead, it won't be the first time South Melbourne has competed in a major competition abroad. In 2000, the club competed as Oceania's representative at the FIFA Club World Championships in Brazil.
There, South played against heavyweights Manchester United, Necaxa and Vasco da Gama. Despite three losses the Aussies proved they could compete against some of the best in the world. Club favourite John Anastasiadis scored the club's historic goal at that tournament.
What's more, after winning four national NSL titles, South was earlier this year named Oceania Team of the Century. The club has been invited to London in May to accept the award alongside other FIFA confederation teamof the century winners.
"We are also encouraged by the positive noises made by the FFA thus far. We look forward to helping grow Australia's brand in the AFC with their help and guidance," added Galatas.
The FA Cup plan caps off a big weekend for the former NSL champions with Sunday being their last game at their current home Bob Jane Stadium.
After the round six Victorian Premier League clash with Heidelberg, Bob Jane will close before its transformation into the new State Athletics Centre over the course of the next 18 months.
A budget of $50.3 million has been allocated by Victoria State Government to build the new stadium that will house both football and athletics.
In the interim, South will play at the Darebin International Sports Centre. To celebrate Sunday's match, the club has launched an online promotion. Head to www.smfc.com.au/promo and simply submit your name and a valid email address and automatically receive a free double pass sent to the email address.