In just a couple of hours, the Australian footballing landscape will be changed forever as for the first time in nine years a decision on expansion is expected to be made by the new Football Federation Australia board.
With the meeting due to wind up around 7pm, there is an air of speculation and expectation about what form the expansion of the A-League may take.
There are five potential streamlined outlooks that the governing body may take on expansion going forward, and further mish-mashes of including teams in later years including scrapping the process completely, in favour of expansion in the subsequent seasons.
Some have advocated a cautious approach to expansion in the A-League, with a one team per season method mooted as a solution to some bids not being ready to compete next season.
If this were the method of choice, it would see only South Melbourne, South West Sydney Macarthur and Canberra as the stand out bids with pre-existing stadia ready for the new season.
Out of those three bids, with Fox Sports preferring Sydney or Melbourne teams in this round of expansion, it’s likely South West Macarthur would be the bid selected if the FFA go down this path.
Add to the fact that the broadcaster is wanting to shorten the number of rounds, which sees the competition fall short of qualification criteria for the AFC Champions League makes this an unlikely choice, however FFA may counter-act this with a modified finals setup.
Likeliness of outcome: Not likely but has support from some pundits.
Likely outcome: South West Sydney Macarthur
What was announced, and what is expected.
For the last couple of months, fans of Australian Football high and low have been trying to fit six into two after the announcement that the initial bidders had whittled down to six.
There’s also been all sorts of movement with Southern Expansion reportedly approaching South West Sydney Macarthur about a merged bid at the 11th hour, to increase their chances of being one of the winning two bids.
There has been a growing consensus that the governing body may lean towards Sydney and Melbourne bids based on extra money from Fox Sports, however without knowing what metrics the new FFA board is valuing bids on, we are all arguably equally in the dark.
Out of the four ‘new’ bids in Sydney and Melbourne, South West Sydney again already have the stadia.
That makes it a three-horse race between the ready-made Canberra bid and the two prospective Melbourne bids.
South Melbourne may be a dark horse as they too have ready-to-go stadia in the form of Lakeside Stadium but do sit within the already crowded Melbourne football market.
Likeliness of outcome: Probably the most likely of all.
Teams likely to be included: South West Sydney and Team 11/Canberra/West Melbourne.