Why wait on A-League expansion?
AFTER it was announced this week that football is now officially the biggest participation sport in Australia, the A-League must now cash in - and that means moving forward at pace with the expansion plan.
The competition is attracting big crowds at most games, while television audiences are also on the rise.
Now is the time for the powers that be to start moving on the expansion plan and it seems like things are beginning to take shape.
Most experts are talking about increasing the number of teams from 10 to 12, but why stop there?
Surely if the competition is going that well and there are a number of potential clubs that appear to be ready to go, then why not make it happen?
Of course there are due diligence processes that have to be gone through, but why wait?
The A-League confirmed this week that the expansion blueprint will be unveiled in February, but the A-League should strike while the iron is hot and get things moving now.
Another big factor in the expansion are the TV companies.
A number of possible expansion clubs have thrown their hat in the ring over the past few months, including Tasmania, Geelong, Brisbane and South Melbourne.
FFA boss David Gallop says it's important that they choose the right area for the new clubs.
"We want (broadcasters) to indicate when they come to us their attitude to not only expansion, but expansion where,” Gallop said.
So where does the A-League go next?
South Melbourne is believed to be ready to go now, while another National Premier Leagues big-name club, Brisbane Strikers, has the backing of former Brisbane Roar and Gold Coast United coach Miron Bleiberg.
The Wollongong Wolves are ready for a standalone bid too and in WIN Stadium, they already have the perfect venue.
Adelaide too could cope with another A-League team, especially now that the Adelaide Oval has become a go-to venue for the city.
Perth also has a new stadium that will be ready soon and could house a second team, and my personal experience of the game in the west suggests the city is ready for another A-League team.
When it comes to expansion in any sport, Tasmania always seems to be the poor relation but after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull gave his backing to a possible A-League club, then maybe its time has come.
Whichever way FFA and A-League bosses go, it needs to move quickly and as long it is viable then keep on expanding.
The sky is the limit for football Down Under.