Sydney set for third A-League team next season
SOUTH-WEST Sydney could have an A-League presence next season with Wellington Phoenix on the verge of selling a large stake to a local consortium.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been agreed between the two parties, with a view to selling a 50 per cent stake immediately.
The hybrid model would effectively become a third Sydney club, making for potentially two more box-office derbies with Western Sydney and Sydney FC.
South-west Sydney would host a large portion of home games (at Campbelltown Stadium) and be the HQ to the club's new training base under the proposal, along with a colour change to black and white - synonymous with the south-west region.
Phoenix would retain their current home strip for the games that remain in New Zealand under a hybrid model.
South-west Sydney bid director Gino Marra refused to comment when contacted by News Corp Australia.
However it is believed that Marra travelled to New Zealand last week to negotiate the terms of the "merger" with Phoenix chairman Rob Morrison.
It's understood that the pair will meet with FFA (chief executive David Gallop) on Friday in a bid to rubber-stamp the sale. Wellnix - the consortium that owns Phoenix - and Marra's group are confident that legally the governing body cannot reject the deal.
FFA is simultaneously running a formal expansion process, with Expressions of Interest due on May 24. Southern Expansion (the joint Sutherland, St George and Illawarra) and Wollongong Wolves are among the bidders from NSW.
If the south-west consortium's audacious purchase comes off, the existing Phoenix contracts of Nathan Burns, Roy Krishna, Sarpreet Singh, Keegan Smith, Tom Doyle, Louis Fenton, Dylan Fox, Ryan Lowry, Adam Parkhouse and Oli Sail would be honoured.
Midfielder Matt Ridenton this week joined Newcastle Jets. Other Phoenix negotiations have stalled, including the appointment of a new coach, while Phoenix's ownership structure is resolved.
Captain Andrew Durante, Scott Galloway, Lewis Italiano, Andrija Kaludjerovic, Matija Ljujic, James McGarry, Michael McGlinchey, Daniel Mullen, Goran Paracki, Logan Rogerson, Alex Rufer and Tando Velaphi are off contract, while defender Marco Rossi has already departed.
The two key determining legal factors are whether Wellington's license is territorial and whether a sale of 50 per cent or below can be blocked by FFA.
Phoenix has also negotiated with Southern Expansion and former National Soccer League champions South Melbourne in the last six months.