A-League tipped to accept new NZ franchise today

The A-League licence surrendered by the New Zealand Knights is reportedly set to be handed on to the New Zealand football controlling organisation, New Zealand Socccer, after a meeting in Wellington today. Football Federation Australia CEO Ben Buckley and Operations Director Matt Carroll are flying to the New Zealand capital city from Sydney and "are poised to confirm New Zealand Soccer as the new licence-holder this afternoon. That licence will then be sub-let to the John Dow-led Wellington consortium," Terry Maddaford wrote in today's NZ Herald.

Although Carroll did not confirm the decision to hand the licence back to New Zealand after a two-horse race with Townsville-based Tropical Football Australia, he did say: "We will possibly make an announcement after lunch on Monday. We need to make sure what we have been told [about the Wellington bid and their surprise late backer] is right and take it from there. Depending on the outcome of those discussions we will either confirm the Wellington bid or we won't."

NZS chairman John Morris and chief executive Graham Seatter will be at the meeting with Dow and the yet-to-be-revealed backer. According to Maddaford, "a final decision today would be a relief for all parties after a saga which began late last year when the FFA stepped in to prop up the Knights when previous owners Octagon Sports struck financial woes. The FFA weighed in with the necessary support to pay the players and get them through to the end of the season. That sparked interest from bidders in Auckland and Wellington but, given a deadline they could not meet, the Alan Sefton-headed Auckland bid was ditched. Even as the only hope to ensure the survival of a New Zealand team in the league, the Wellington bid needed more time. These on-going delays have, it seems, played into the bidders' hands and given them time to find a desperately needed backer - who should be revealed today."