FOOTBALL Federation today succumbed to the inevitable and scrapped the Sydney Rovers franchise after months of uncertainty and inaction.
The FFA today said they will open discussions with other interested parties after "mutually agreeing with the Sydney Rovers consortium not to pursue its bid for a franchise in western Sydney."
The FFA insist they remain committed to a Hyundai A-League franchise in western Sydney and will now begin talks with other interested investors.
FFA CEO Ben Buckley said he wanted to thank the Sydney Rovers consortium despite the embarrassing flop.
“I would like to thank Ian Rowden and his team for all of the work that they have done over the past year or so,” Buckley said.
“We have mutually decided this week to move on so FFA can explore other options with the view to starting a team in Sydney’s west as soon as possible.
“The Sydney Rovers group has completed a substantial amount of work around dealing with stadia, local government and businesses and they have kindly offered to make that work available to other prospective consortiums.”
Buckley said FFA was committed to a second Sydney team and believed it was time to give other investors an opportunity.
He added: “We are convinced there is enough support out there for a western Sydney franchise and it is an important part of our vision for the Hyundai A-League.”
Rovers were awarded the 12th A-League licence in September 2009 in controversial circumstances when the FFA opted for their bid over other apparently better-funded options.
Led by Saatchi ad boss Ian Rowden and backed by former Socceroos including Charlie Yankos, the bid soon established a name and identity, and released their kit plans early in its development.
But funding remained a serious issue and less than a year out from their A-League debut, it was clear they still had not found sufficient backing.
As the current season went on, Rowden avoided the press spotlight and no players were linked with signing for the fledgling club, casting serious doubt on its ability to meet the 2011/12 season target.
Its future and that of North Queensland Fury seemed to hinge on the success or failure of the 2022 World Cup bid.
With that loss in Zurich last week, Rovers' future seemed impossible - and the death blow was today delivered at an FFA board meeting.
North Queensland Fury must now wait to find out if they face a similar fate or if sacrificing Rovers will give them a lifeline for one more season.