NZ soc­cer seek­ing a backer for new club

Townsville Bulletin - - Sport -

NEWZealand Soc­cer (NZS) yes­ter­day called for ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est from po­ten­tial in­vestors in a club to re­place the New Zealand Knights in next sea­son’s A-League.

How­ever, any in­vest­ment would be con­di­tional on All Whites coach Ricki Her­bert be­ing the coach and the club be­ing one that ‘rep­re­sents New Zealand’.

NZS said it had an open mind about where a new team would be based, but wanted home matches in dif­fer­ent cen­tres.

Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion Aus­tralia (FFA) last week re­voked the li­cence held by pre­vi­ous own­ers Brian Katzen and An­thony Lee, hand­ing the run­ning of the Knights to NZS un­til sea­son’s end on Jan­uary 21.

The move also re­sulted in Her­bert as­sum­ing the coach­ing du­ties for the five matches that re­mained.

The FFA has given NZS un­til the end of next month to sub­mit a pro­posal for a club to take over from the Knights.

One of the com­plaints lev­elled at the pre­vi­ous man­age­ment of the Knights, who are headed for their sec­ond suc­ces­sive bot­tom-of-the-ta­ble fin­ish, was the lack of New Zealan­ders on the play­ing staff, with just four in the present squad.

NZ chief ex­ec­u­tive Gra­ham Seat­ter said the na­tional body was not in the po­si­tion to in­vest in a pro­fes­sional team.

How­ever, it wanted to fa­cil­i­tate a sce­nario that would ben­e­fit both the A-League and the game in New Zealand.

Seat­ter be­lieved a suc­cess­ful New Zealand­based A-League club would help NZS achieve its strate­gic goals and also be valu­able for All Whites’ Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup and World Cup cam­paigns.

He said things had to move quickly if a new club was to op­er­ate suc­cess­fully and if Her­bert was to have suf­fi­cient time to re­cruit play­ers.

NZS hoped to re­ceive a com­mit­ment of $A1.78 mil­lion by mid-Jan­uary as part of an ‘ideal’cap­i­tal base of up to $A4.45 mil­lion.

Seat­ter said NZS hoped to fol­low the model of league lead­ers Melbourne Vic­tory, who have a large group of share­hold­ers, rather than one or two big back­ers.

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