Multi-million dollar licence fees will be key to which A-League expansion bid gets the green light, Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop admitted today.
Six bids – South Melbourne FC, Team 11, West Melbourne, South Sydney, South-West Sydney and Canberra – are still in the running to join the A-League, possibly as soon as next season, after a series of stop-start delays to the expansion process.
A decision on the winning bids was due to be made in October but the final verdict was put on ice while a new FFA board was elected.
Newly-elected chairman Chris Nikou last month vowed expansion would be his number one issue and a board meeting next week is set to make a call on naming the winning bids – or delaying it yet again.
Today Gallop refused to reveal what his recommendation was going to be in the final report he'll submit to the board on December 12, and insisted there was still work to be done before next week's meeting.
But he admitted the FFA had pushed every bid to increase their proposed cash offer for a licence to the absolute maximum they could raise.
"It's important to say there is a range of factors and clearly the dollars are going to be critical," he said at today's launch of the new logos for the Socceroos and Matildas.
"The expansion equation was always going to take into account a range of factors. It's silly to suggest that it was only about the licence fee.
"But clearly the financial position of the A-League and the rest of the game means that the financial equation is critical.
"And we continue to talk to all the bids about making sure that they've put their best foot forward not only in terms of the licence fee, but infrastructure and community engagement.
"These are still topics that we are talking to the bidders about."
Gallop warned time was running out for a decision on the new bids if they were to join the competition next season.
He added: "It's not absolutely critical that a decision's made on December 12, but there's only a short period of time after that, perhaps into January.
"But if it went much past January, it would obviously put the 2019/20 season start under pressure."