FOOTBALL Federation Australia today announced the 12th team in the Hyundai A-League would be based in western Sydney - but has been delayed until 2011
FFA CEO Ben Buckley revealed the FFA will award a licence to a group chaired by Saatchi & Saatchi Executive Chairman and former Young Socceroo Ian Rowden.
"It is a traditional heartland for football, having produced a large number of very talented men and women players," he said today.
"We believe they are the right people to build and establish the team and to connect to football fans and the wider community and we want to give the team every chance to succeed by giving them time to put all the right building blocks in place.
"Above all, they have a great combination of business and marketing expertise and acumen as well as a deep knowledge of, and passion for, the game."
Buckley said that, after extensive discussion with Rowden and his group, it was agreed that it was preferable for the team to commence in the Hyundai A-League in 2011, rather than be rushed in for 2010.
This would give the team every chance to be established properly, as it would provide greater time for the team to prepare its plans both on and off the field.
"We have been very impressed with the group and we're excited by their vision for the team," he said. "Western Sydney remains a strategically important region for FFA."
Rowden's group includes partner at law firm DLA Phillip Fox, Peter Tredinnick and former Young Socceroo/Socceroo; John Moore, Director of Global Brands and former Olympic marketing executive; and former captain of the Socceroos, Charlie Yankos.
"We're delighted that FFA has entrusted us with this opportunity," said Rowden. "We consider it an honour and a privilege to bring football fans in Sydney a second team in the Hyundai A-League and look forward to the 2011 season with great anticipation."
Buckley also reiterated that Canberra would be "an obvious priority" for the 13th license.
"We will be working with the ACT Government and the Canberra consortium to achieve this in an appropriate timeframe," he said.
Buckley said he would like to thank all the consortia that have been interested in the 12th licence, including the South Coast consortium.
He added: "We will remain in close discussion with them regarding potential future plans for the South Coast including women's and youth football.
"The level of interest, and number of consortia we have been dealing with, show the underlying strength and attractiveness of the Hyundai A-League competition."