FFA CEO David Gallop says the decision to grant Western Melbourne Group and Macarthur South West Sydney A-League licences is a “strong responsible decision.”

Increasing the number of local derbies and granting licenses in “growth corridors” were key aspects of the decision-making process according to Gallop, FFA Chairman Chris Nikou and Head of the A-League Greg O’Rourke.

“This gives more opportunities for derbies and is the best opportunity to spike existing metrics,” Nikou said.

“Having another team in Melbourne and Sydney allows for more people to attend games as away fans.”

“When we’ve added teams in big cities it’s given a boost to the A-League.”

“Not to say other cities won’t get a guernsey but for now this is the call.”

The respective bids will enter the A-League a season apart with Western Melbourne Group set to come in next season whereas Macarthur South-West Sydney will enter in the 2020/21 season.

“We want to give both bids the best chance of success,” Nikou said.

“Having discussed the timing with the two bidders they prefer to be given that little extra time.”

Western Melbourne Group will play at least two seasons out of Geelong’s GMHBA Stadium which Gallop says is a “high quality” interim option.

“We have to present the A-League in the best possible and playing out of [GMHBA Stadium] achieves this,” Gallop said.

Gallop also revealed the state of the Sydney’s existing clubs was taken into account with both Sydney FC and the Western Sydney Wanderers currently “without a home.”

“Both Sydney clubs are not at home which is why we’ve leaned towards Macarthur coming in second,” Gallop said.

Nikou says the FFA board will continue to “push the needle with expansion” in addition to the establishment of a National second division.

“We will keep dialogue with bidders keen for the next phase,” Nikou said.

“Cities like Brisbane and Adelaide should not be discounted.”

Athos Sirianos