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Brisbane City in bold A-L expansion push

NZN 5/05/2017 Vince Rugari

Brisbane City have entered the A-League expansion race after revealing a comprehensive bid that has been warmly received by Football Federation Australia.

The former National Soccer League side has a group of local investors in place who are backing them to return to Australian football's top tier after a 39-year absence.

If approved, FC Brisbane City - or the Gladiators - will play out of a refurbished Ballymore Stadium and undergo a full rebranding, with a new logo and maroon, gold and blue as their primary colours to pitch themselves to a wider audience.

Bid chairman Robert Cavallucci has met multiple times with FFA executives who were impressed by their level of organisation, with their plans nine months in the making.

It's understood no other current bid is as detailed and elements of it outstrip some A-League clubs, as Brisbane City seek to become derby rivals for the Roar and make Brisbane a two-team town like Sydney and Melbourne.

Cavallucci said the initial response from FFA had been "fantastic" while A-League broadcasters Fox Sports were also fully supportive.

"Our bid is complete. Our funding model is secure. We are ready to join the A-League," Cavallucci, who made the announcement at a luncheon in Brisbane on Friday, told AAP.

"In our view, Brisbane is ready for two teams as well. To think it can't support two teams is misguided.

"But we know it's not just about us, it's about how we can help grow the A-League as a whole, and increase attendances and TV ratings.

"Our plan, and the introduction of a Brisbane derby, can make that happen."

A prominent Brisbane businessman and one-time state politician, Cavallucci's consortium wanted to buy the struggling Brisbane Roar last year from Indonesian conglomerate the Bakrie Group.

When their "rescue package" was knocked back, they decided to use it as a foundation for an A-League expansion bid instead and put their resources behind Brisbane City, who were founded in 1952 by Italian immigrants.

Their 80-page proposal to join the A-League covers everything from governance structures, ticket pricing, supporter engagement and football operations to public transport, women's football and Indigenous development.

The bid's investors would also fund a refurbishment of Ballymore to bring it to A-League standard, with the 18,000-capacity venue to host all of Brisbane City's home games, including derbies.

The Roar currently train at Ballymore but will move into a new facility at Logan, south of Brisbane, towards the end of the year, and Cavallucci wants to create a north-versus-south divide to stoke their rivalry.

FFA has pushed aside expansion as it deals with a raft of governance issues but it's still expected two new teams will join the competition, but not until the 2018-19 season at the earliest.

"We are aware of interest from Brisbane City FC and like all groups looking to be part of an expanded league, it is welcome and shows the tremendous potential of the game," an FFA spokesperson said.

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