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Bleiberg backing Strikers for A-League

AAP logoAAP 7/11/2016 Vince Rugari

Former National League Soccer champions Brisbane Strikers are set to lodge a formal bid for an A-League expansion licence.

The Strikers are understood to be the entity associated with Miron Bleiberg and several other unknown investors who are pushing for a second Brisbane team in the league.

The Strikers narrowly lost out on a spot in the A-League to the then-Queensland Roar when the competition was launched in 2005 but have always harboured ambitions of returning to the top tier, and have made the next round of expansion their target.

It's believed they've already made contact with Football Federation Australia, who last month said they were open to the idea of another team in Brisbane.

Bleiberg claimed the investors were "capable, they have the money, most importantly they love the game, and they are ready."

Strikers chairman Bruce Atterton-Evans confirmed Bleiberg had been acting as a conduit between the club and the interested parties.

"Yes, we're certainly happy to talk with anyone about partnering for the A-League as long as we can make it commercially viable," Atterton-Evans told AAP.

The Strikers, who are backed by the Clem Jones Group, have retained some modest support over the years after entering Queensland's state league system upon the demise of the NSL.

They finished top of the Queensland NPL this year and have appeared in all three editions of the FFA Cup so far, attracting a crowd of 3571 to Perry Park for Tim Cahill's Melbourne City debut in August.

The club's crowning moment was the 1997 NSL grand final victory over Sydney United, played in front of 40,446 at Lang Park, a record attendance for the sport at the time.

Indeed, the Strikers' status as something of a 'legacy brand' could provide them with a major head start in building a fanbase.

They already have an academy structure in place and a home ground in Brisbane's inner-northern suburbs, Perry Park, although it would require a significant redevelopment to be fit to host A-League games.

FFA has been swamped with unsolicited expressions of interest from a number of potential expansion bidders, including former Melbourne Victory directors Harry Stamoulis and Robert Belteky, who are keen to fund a new team in Tasmania and will meet with the governing body this week.

However, FFA will not seriously begin looking at expansion until a new broadcast deal for the 2017-18 season and onwards is finalised.

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