Western United name could cost FFA millions - report

Just what the governing body needs right now...

The absence of 'Melbourne' from new A-League side Western United's name may see Football Federation Australia miss out on $5 million in additional broadcast payments from Fox Sports.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Fox Sports is looking to avoid paying a nine per cent increase in its broadcast deal with the FFA in June 2021 because United's name and location mean it can't be viewed as a team from Victoria's capital.

A contract between the FFA and Fox Sports stipulates the governing body would receive an extra $5 million in funding should two new A-League teams from Sydney and Melbourne be introduced - with Fox reportedly set to contest whether Western United now meets that criteria. 

Unsurprisingly, the FFA isn't impressed by the broadcaster's attempts to avoid the additional payments and have already pointed to AFL side Western Bulldogs as an example of sporting teams still fielding an association with Melbourne despite name and location. 

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It's also claimed the FFA had urged Western United to include Melbourne in their official name - which was ultimately decided by a public poll. 

Whether Fox Sports stand any chance of avoiding the additional payments remains unclear but the attempt does suggest increasing tensions between the broadcaster and the FFA.

The A-League's TV ratings have been consistently dropping for the past few seasons with expansion seen as one way to potentially reverse the trend.