AUSTRALIA’S pre-eminent soccer commentator Simon Hill says Football Federation Australia must not put commercial returns ahead of the game’s growth in regional areas.
Hill told Melbourne-based radio station SEN on Monday that he felt administrators would prefer to add two metropolitan teams over Tasmania and Geelong when the A-League expands to 12 clubs in 2018.
Tasmania’s licence, championed by former English professional player David Clarkson and bankrolled by Melbourne-based businessmen Harry Stamoulis and Robert Belteky, is believed to have the support of A-League broadcaster Fox Sports. “I think the FFA would prefer Southern Sydney, maybe Brisbane, maybe another team in Melbourne, David Gallop’s old adage of fish where the fish are, they want the biggest commercial returns and I get that,” Hill said.
He said Tasmania should get the nod for a licence if its bid meets the unknown selection criteria.
“For me the FFA should’ve come out with a criteria (for expansion) a long, long time ago… crucially also when they do come out with the criteria and we hear it might be as soon as February, they’ve got to stick to it,” Hill said.
“If Tasmania comes forward and ticks every single box, then they’ve got to be in for me, but I think one of the reasons why the FFA hasn’t put out the criteria is that really they want to have the final say. It appears they’ve got the most financial certainty in place, that’s out of all the bids I’ve heard of.
“We just can’t keep dipping into the big cities every single time.”