NZ soccer seeking a backer for new club
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.