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A-League expansion: Which clubs could be added and when?

8:05 AM GMT+8 11/12/2018
A-League 2018/19
A few big decisions are looming for the A-League

Now into its seventh straight season with the same ten teams, the A-League is set to add two new clubs as it looks to grow in vital areas and ramp up the entertainment value.

As it stands expansion bids from Canberra, South-West Sydney, Southern Expansion, Team 11, South Melbourne and Western Melbourne Group are all vying to be added to the competition.

Though a strong favourite early on, Southern Expansion appears to have fallen behind in the race after it was revealed Football Federation Australia urged them to join forces with South-West Sydney's bid, who in turn rejected any such proposal and are themselves already a merger of two bids.

Unlike Southern Expansion, which is strongly opposed to by Sydney FC for attempting to eat into their fan base, South-West Sydney look set to tap into an unclaimed growth corridor and would play their games out of Campbelltown Stadium.

Canberra, which already boasts a successful W-League team to their name, have gradually firmed as expansion contenders and like South-West offer a unique space for the A-League to grow.

South Melbourne meanwhile already have an existing fan base to call on having been in existence since 1959 and have chased an A-League spot for over a decade.

Team 11 and Western Melbourne Group have significant investment behind them but struggled to convince people they can attract new fans to the competition with Melbourne Victory and City already entrenched in the region. 

A decision on expansion was originally planned for October but with former FFA chairman Steven Lowy stepping down and four new board members recently being elected, the timeframe has been subject to change.

The two successful expansion bids could be selected as soon as Wednesday December 11, but FFA Chief Executive David Gallop has mentioned a final call could now be pushed back until January.

With a decision on expansion already hampered by delays, the expansion process itself could now be shifted - with the two news team possibly introduced in the 2020/21 season rather than the next campaign as originally planned. 

Existing A-League clubs and the FFA have voiced their concern over introducing any of the expansion bids too quickly, however new FFA chairman Chris Nikou declared when he was elected that his preference was for the process to occur next season if possible.

Along with two teams being selected for the next wave of expansion, there's the possibility a further two could be lined up as future additions with a 14-team A-League much more preferable to 12.

With 12 teams, the competition's schedule is facing some massive alterations to avoid an imbalance in matches with a shorter season a strong possibility.

While a number of questions around expansion remain, what is clear is that the A-League needs to grow and that there are some very strong bids knocking on the door to be added.