Wellington Phoenix Chairman, Rob Morrison, has hit back at FFA over the club's poor metrics this season.
It appears Wellington Phoenix are holding on by a thread. In a recent interview with the New Zealand Herald, Morrison finally rejected claims that the club's ownership group, Welnix, was looking to sell the club.
Although he did admit that the club had been speaking to prospective buyers, and considering a merger with A-League expansion bidders from Southern NSW.
"No is the simple answer (to whether we're selling)," Morrison said.
"When you announce there are going to be two new clubs, there's lots of jockeying for position and that's stirred up a lot of speculation. We'd be silly not to talk to people but that doesn't mean we're selling."
A-League boss Greg O'Rourke recently launched a veiled threat at Wellington's ownership, saying he intends to find out "whether or not they're interested in improving their club."
This amplified existing calls to fold the Nix franchise, with several Australian pundits vociferous in their claims that Wellington is holding the competition back. Morrison, however, believes it's the other way around.
"We obviously had a very disappointing season and we've acknowledged that, but the crowds were poor in the A-League, full-stop," he said.
"It's indicative of where the A-League has got to. The FFA like to use us as a bit of a whipping boy and they've been public about the fact that we're a concern to them, but the bigger concern is the way the FFA run the A-League."
"When you look at the next couple of years, the biggest thing is what will the A-League look like? Who will actually run it? The clubs are very focused on the fact the A-League needs to be run independently of the FFA. We need a new governance structure."
"All of the clubs want to see change and change is the best way forward, not just for us, but for every team in the A-League."
"All the clubs are hurting. Everyone has said things have gone backwards. At some stage you have to say, do we continue to run with this or do we make significant change?
"Everyone with the exception of the FFA is of the view we have to make change."
FFA CEO David Gallop rejected Morrison's claims that FFA was holding back from implementing change in the A-League.
“Rob Morrison knows perfectly well that FFA began talking to the clubs about a new ownership and operating model for the Hyundai A-League in early 2017 – more than a year ago," Gallop said.
"FFA is on the record repeatedly saying it wants a model that provides better returns to existing owners and more attractive to new investors while taking into account the need to provide funding to the other grassroots programs that are fundamental to the overall health of the game.
"Over the past six months we have repeatedly invited them to resume talks on this. So it is simply wrong to say that FFA is resisting change.
"We have begun a process to expand the league and we will continue to engage with stakeholders around a new model for its operation.”