Belief that plans for further A-League expansion are set to target regional centres has encouraged discussions for a new bid from Football Federation Tasmania.
A private submission from the FC Tasmania consortium on behalf of soccer’s state body had failed to make the initial expansion shortlist of 10 bids in June.
But on Friday Football Federation Australia named the winning submissions from the growth corridors in Australia’s two largest cities, giving the nod to the Western Melbourne Group and Macarthur South West Sydney to join 10 existing clubs.
The decision to award third Melbourne and Sydney licences was met by harsh criticism on social media.
But FFT chief executive Matt Bulkeley is determined to push on for what is best for Tasmanian soccer – which could include the next round of expansion post-2021 – and discussed the matter with FFT chairman Bob Gordon on Wednesday.
“The approach of taking the A-League to more regional areas is a real positive,” Bulkeley said.
“While it was not technically an FFT bid as is my understanding, we were very supportive of it and would remain supportive of having an A-League team out of Tasmania. I think it would be fantastic for the game.
“So we will continue to work very closely with FFA as we do on everything and we’ll keep abreast of developments in terms of the process for future expansion.”
The call to cut the state’s A-League hopes was three weeks before Bulkeley left FFA for Tasmania after he spent eight years as head of game development and national participation manager.
Tasmania would be set to join Canberra and Wollongong in contention for a spot in the national competition.
Brisbane City and Ipswich Pride had also made the shortlist, but Bulkeley felt the next round could favour a new Tasmanian direction.
“I think that’s quite possible.” he said.
“If you look at it after this bout of expansion, there will be three clubs in each of Sydney and Melbourne...and I think it could reach a point where there are too many teams if you expand too much there.
“The FFA will look at a number of criteria in terms of their decision-making; there will be many facets to that including population, playing numbers, commercial viability, government support and all those types if things.
“But I would be very confident that the Tasmania population and the football community in particular would be very supportive of a club here.
“We have a very strong participation base and lots of very passionate people involved in the game that I am sure would embrace that.
“We have a view that a national competition should have a Tasmanian team in it, so we would love to see that in the future.”
South Hobart is one of numerous NPL clubs demanding a second division to ensure Tasmanian participation on a national stage.
That proposal could also remain a separate entity from the A-League without promotion and relegation.
The FFT has already set up a new league working group to look into the viability of a second national league.
“I guess that will be revealed in the coming months of what the outcomes might be,” Bulkeley said.