Jack Reilly, the Australian 1974 World Cup goalkeeper, is concerned the Tasmanian A-League bid is doomed over a lack of transparency and the internal machinations at the sport’s governing body.
Trevallyn-based Reilly spent six years on Football Federation Australia’s board before his swift dismissal via email for failure to fall in line with chairman Frank Lowy.
The 74-year-old, who has made a living post-soccer in the financial markets, points to poor vision for the nation’s premier competition in the wake of proposed expansion from 10 to, at least, 12 clubs.
“There are 15 new clubs now supposedly bidding for a licence,” Reilly said.
“The FFA hasn’t even set the cost of that licence, what they’re bidding for or when it could possibly be. There has to be a lot more management of the situation than that.
“You hear the arguments that are going on, but I feel there should now be an independent A-League.”
Reilly claims from his time on the board A-League owners have lost $308 million despite spending $3.6 billion since launching the competition in the 2005-06 season.
With the Brisbane Strikers bid falling through, and the Victoria Patriots/Geelong bid moving to Weribee, it's probably best to take the view that 'no news is good news' regarding the Tasmanian A-League bid. Bids must be lodged by this Thursday.— Tasmania A-League (@Aleaguetas) May 22, 2018
The FFA delayed announcing its A-League shortlist two weeks ago to seek out more detail from the bidders.
Ex-Melbourne Victory directors Harry Stamoulis and Robert Belteky are driving a Tasmanian bid, which Reilly endorses the men after his time on the club’s board.
But Reilly said the time is not right for Tasmania to be one of the two new clubs.
“I’d love to think they will be [in line to join],” he said
“But it all depends on the support of the people.
“At this point in time, there hasn’t been enough put in place for a solid foundation.
“I don’t think there is any doubt that the A-League has to go to 12 or 14 teams. It would be phenomenal if Tasmania sat down with whoever wants to be involved and say maybe we can’t make it this time, but when it goes to 14 nobody can ignore us.
“Right now, it’s difficult because there hasn’t been enough done at grassroots.”
The Scottish-born capped Socceroo said the FFA should do more for Tasmania.
“It’s farcical where we are with the A-League, with things in place for 13 years, and only now we’re talking about expansion,” Reilly said.
“The program should have been in place six years ago.”
But Reilly said the state still had unresolved issues.
“The things that are happening at Churchill Park on Saturday mornings – what’s flowing from that is not what should be flowing,” he said.
“There should be a lot more happening and this saga that goes on between North and South to be in a national league shouldn’t be.”