Sydney FC has released the following statement on Hyundai A-League Expansion from Chairman Scott Barlow:
“There is no question that expansion of the A-League must happen. We need to grow from 10 teams to 12 and then to 14 and we need to create a proper home and away season. Expansion done in the right way will be the spring board for the next phase of the A-League’s growth. We simply cannot afford to get these decisions wrong and I share the same concerns as the other A-League chairmen about the process and the timeline the FFA is currently pursuing.
“As for a third team in Sydney, I am in full support of a team located in Sydney’s South West representing the rapidly growing region of Macarthur. It’s an exciting proposition for the A-League.
“The Macarthur region is the future of Sydney. It’s the city’s fastest growing region and will have one million people living there in the coming years. It is an area with a very high proportion of young families - perfect for an A-League club. This is where a big successful club can be based, in the heart of a growing community and with a fanbase that has a real sense of ownership in the club. Campbelltown Stadium is the ideal home, they have the full support of the Campbelltown Mayor and they now have the support of one of Australia’s leading businessmen, Lang Walker AO. What a coup it would be to have someone of Lang’s stature involved in the A-League.
“In complete contrast to the Macarthur proposal, I am strongly opposed to a team based in south Sydney. The southern regions of Sydney including St George and Sutherland are vital parts of Sydney FC’s heartland. 30% of our members come from the south, in fact more than from the east of Sydney. And over the next three seasons we will be playing close to half our home games at Kogarah.
“A new team based in the south would be very damaging to our club and would result in huge cannibalisation of our fanbase. Put simply it would cut our club off at the knees.
“The Southern Expansion bid is a deeply flawed proposal. It is an attempt to pull together three completely unrelated regions of NSW. The people of Wollongong do not associate themselves with Cronulla or Kogarah and vice versa. You cannot build a passionate, parochial, rusted-on fan base from three unrelated areas. The fact that they propose to play their home games out of three different stadiums highlights just how inherently flawed the proposal is. The last thing we need in the A-League is a nomadic club and I, along with many others in the game, believe it would be destined to fail.
“I am also concerned about the major conflict of interest their CEO, Chris Gardiner, has. It is highly inappropriate for Chris to be both the CEO of Southern Expansion and at the same time on the Board of Football NSW. Chris needs to decide quickly which of these two roles are more important to him because holding both positions is simply untenable.
“If Sydney is to have a third A-League team it is my strong belief that it should be in the south west. A team based in Campbelltown representing the rapidly growing Macarthur region would grow the competition by bringing new fans to the league rather than cannibalising existing clubs.
“Three big teams in Sydney, each representing their own separate part of the city and each with a population base of more than one million people. That’s the right answer for the A-League and it would send a clear message that we are building this league with an eye to the future, not the past.”