Australia top flight aiming for Auckland club

Australia’s top flight aiming for Auckland club by 2024

Auckland (Reuters) – Australia’s top-flight soccer competition is aiming to have a second New Zealand club based out of Auckland by 2024/25, the league’s governing body said on Wednesday.

Auckland previously fielded a team in the A-League but the New Zealand Knights folded after two seasons and were replaced by Wellington Phoenix in 2007.

Australian Professional Leagues (APL) boss Danny Townsend told New Zealand’s Stuff media there were “a great bunch of people ready to invest”.
“My strong view has always been we’re an Australasian league and we need to properly embrace New Zealand,” Townsend said.

“We’ve got to work through the component parts of what a successful A-Leagues club looks like, but there’s no shortage of interest and that was promising for us. “There’s certainly a pent-up demand for football in Auckland. We see that when the Phoenix go play there.”

Organizers plan for the Auckland club to launch an A-League Women’s team at the same time as the men’s, an APL spokesperson said. Stuff said APL would look to charge a license fee of A$20-25 million ($13.4m – $16.7m) for the club to join the league.

Phoenix boss David Dome said there were “pros and cons” that came with a second New Zealand team but welcomed the competition. “There will be challenges for the Wellington Phoenix as well, but we are up for that,” he said. “We’re pretty confident about what we’ve built here down in Wellington.”

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