Northern Fury chairman Rabieh Krayem has called on Football Federation Australia to clarify the process for A-League expansion bids.
A-League boss Greg O’Rourke told FourFourTwo last week there had plenty of interest from bidders to be the 11th and 12th clubs in the competition.
O’Rourke and FFA CEO David Gallop put expansion back on the table more than a month ago, saying it’ll happen “sooner rather than later” with the next broadcast rights deal pending.
However, despite plenty of interest, the FFA is yet to disclose the criteria or formalise a process around A-League expansion.
Townsville-based Fury entered the A-League in 2009 but were booted out of the competition for financial reasons in 2011.
The club has re-built at NPL level in Queensland, with a long-term view of a return to the A-League.
Krayem, who was Fury chairman during their A-League demise, called on the FFA to provide some direction for clubs like his wanting to bid for a licence.
“There’s been no clear direction on what the criteria is to be in an extended A-League,” Krayem told FourFourTwo.
“That’s been the biggest frustration for all parties. What’s the criteria?
“What are the boxes you need to tick to give yourself an opportunity to apply, whether it’s this round or the next round of expansion?
“You could put a lot of work and a lot of planning into a licence bid but you might be ticking the wrong boxes.”
Krayem cited the example of licence fees when arguing it was impossible to plan for an A-League bid without clarity of process and criteria.
“We know based on the past what sort of dollars you need to run a licence,” he said
“But is there any more? For example, is there going to be a licence fee?”
Krayem acknowledged the Fury wouldn’t be ready for the next round of expansion, with the club taking a longer-term view.
“The reality is we won’t be in a position in the next round of expansion in the next 24 months,” he said.
“I think any organization, you’ve got to have time to build the platform to tick all the boxes.”
He added lessons had been learnt from the club’s demise in 2011 which had already been applied to great success.
“The lessons learnt from last time is very simple, you’ve got to build grass roots support which is what we’re doing now,” Krayem said.
“You’ve got to take it from grass roots up.
“That’s why it’s been an important last few years, having an NPL licence and running the elite pathway program from under-12s onwards.
“The younger kids aspire to want to be playing at the highest level and you’re building a solid foundation.
“I think the platform for us is continuing what we’re doing now and what we’ve done for the past four years.
“We want to turn those youngsters playing into supporters of the game.”