A-League adds expansion teams in Melbourne, Sydney

Football Federation Australia has announced today (Thursday) that A-League expansion franchises have been awarded to Western Melbourne Group and Macarthur South West Sydney.

Western Melbourne Group will join the A-League in 2019-20, with Macarthur South West Sydney to be added the following season.

FFA chief executive David Gallop commended the two teams for their successful bids and praised Western Melbourne Group’s plans for a football-owned, football-specific stadium, said to be the first of its kind in Australia.

“There were very attractive aspects to each of the bids, but the prospect of a facility owned by football for football will be a significant new milestone for the game in Australia,” Gallop said.

“Football-specific stadia have been extremely successful in league expansion in other parts of the world and we are excited by the prospect of such a facility in Melbourne.”

The Melbourne team will play at Kardinia Park in Geelong while work on the stadium is carried out.

Macarthur South West Sydney, meanwhile, will play home matches at the 20,000-seat Campbelltown Stadium, home of NRL rugby league club Wests Tigers and women’s W-League football team Western Sydney Wanderers. The stadium is set to be revamped in the coming years.

Gallop added: “Macarthur South West is a region with a rich football history that when blended with a fast-growing demography creates an exciting future for the game. A ready-made rectangular stadium will also deliver an enjoyable match-day experience for fans.

“Both of the new teams will start their life in the Hyundai A-League in grounds that will allow us and our broadcast partners to present the league in the best possible way and at high-quality venues.”

FFA chairman Chris Nikou said: “I wish to acknowledge the strength of all bids, including those that were unsuccessful on this occasion. The expansion process has been long and extensive, with many passionate football people pouring every effort into their bid proposal.

“We look forward to continuing discussions with unsuccessful bidders for future phases of expansion. In particular, we acknowledge on this occasion that a license has not been granted to the Canberra region. We do, however, continue to view Canberra as an attractive opportunity for potential future expansion.”

Image: Western Melbourne Group