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FFA urged to take expansion action

NZN 5/05/2017 Vince Rugari

Expansion of the A-League could be delayed until the 2019-20 season as Football Federation Australia continues work on a new operating and ownership model for the competition.

But Fox Sports pundit Andy Harper has urged the governing body to act immediately after praising new bidders FC Brisbane City for a "faultless" application.

The former National Soccer League club went public on Friday with a comprehensive plan to return to the nation's top tier and become Brisbane's second A-League team.

If admitted, FC Brisbane City would undergo a full rebranding and play out of a refurbished Ballymore Stadium before seeking a redevelopment of the precinct with the Queensland Rugby Union.

Socceroos great John Kosmina, who coaches Brisbane City in the Queensland NPL, said the bid was so in-depth all A-League clubs should use it as a model.

Harper said they would be a walk-up start for the A-League provided Ballymore was properly renovated.

"From what I've seen, it's very hard to find a fault in it," Harper told AAP.

"It looks as good as you'll find. What Brisbane City are proposing to do is exciting.

"Brisbane needs another team, Queensland has been a supply line for national teams and there's quite clearly a deep appetite for football in Brisbane.

"This can deliver perfectly."

Harper was adamant the A-League should expand as soon as possible but FFA has ruled it out until at least the 2018-19 season.

It's understood it may come a season later than that if FFA deems more time is needed to ensure a move to 12 teams is fully sustainable.

FC Brisbane City bid chairman Rob Cavallucci said they would be ready whenever the expansion process begins.

FFA is already confronting a governance crisis that could prompt FIFA intervention and a stalemate in funding negotiations with A-League club owners, who are angry and want an independently-run competition.

Brisbane Roar, meanwhile, have welcomed the prospect of a cross-town rival.

Managing director Mark Kingsman said last year the Roar were not ready for a second team and had "more work to do as a club" before one was introduced.

But after City's announcement, Kingsman told AAP: "No problem."

"It can only be good for the competition as a whole.

"We have to concentrate on our business and do what we do, and let them do what they do.

"We won't see it as any kind of battle. We know how tough it is to run an A-League side.

"I don't know how organised it is. But anybody thinking they're coming in paying just the (salary) cap isn't going to be competitive."

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