Ex­pan­sion bid­ders eye Phoenix

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - FOOTBALL - DAVID DAVUTOVIC

WELLING­TON Phoenix are ex­plor­ing the op­tion of sell­ing at least a par­tial stake in the club to one of the ex­pan­sion hope­fuls, as their A-League fu­ture ap­pears doomed.

Un­der-siege Phoenix own­ers are be­lieved to have held talks with two ex­pan­sion groups in re­cent days about a sale with of­fers rang­ing from par­tial to a full buy­out.

But the Kiwi club’s own­ers are lean­ing to­wards a “merger”, as they look to cash in be­fore their A-League li­cence ex­pires in 2020.

The South-west (Camp­bell­town) bid is be­lieved to have held for­mal talks, with the con­sor­tium keen to be­come the ALeague’s next ex­pan­sion club.

The Sun­day Tele­graph un­der­stands that any pur­chase be­low 50 per cent does not need to be rat­i­fied by Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion Aus­tralia, al­though the gov­ern­ing body could not con­firm this.

South­ern Ex­pan­sion (the joint Suther­land-St Ge­orge Illawarra bid) de­nied hold­ing talks last week, but con­firmed that they made an of­fer to buy Phoenix six months ago.

South Mel­bourne also made a play to buy Welling­ton 11 months ago.

South-west Syd­ney ALeague bid di­rec­tor Gino Marra con­firmed he’d held talks with cur­rent clubs but re­fused to dis­cuss Welling­ton.

FFA has pre­vi­ously an­nounced that the A-League would ex­pand by two teams in 2019-20.

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