New Zealand and Townsville vie for A-League spot

Football Federation Australia has reportedly received New Zealand Soccer's proposal to obtain the vacant eighth A-League club licence that became available after last year's termination of the Auckland-based New Zealand Knights franchise because of insolvency issues.

Following extensive discussions with three New Zealand-based consortiums, FFA offered NZS the license and left it to the sporting body to find a financially viable sub-licensee. NZS is now applying on behalf of a Wellington-based consortium whose head, John Dow, was last night reportedly meeting with potential investors to finalise a minumum A$1.1 million cash in the bank to secure the rights for the New Zealand national capital. "We're getting close to a final position," he said.

However FFA has also engaged in discussions with the Tropical Football Australia group in Townsville, North Queensland and may now compare its submission with New Zealand's. So advanced is TFA's bid, they've already appointed a coach - ironically New Zealand legend Wynton Rufer. Last year they successfully staged a tournament in Rockhampton, Ayr and Townsville with A-League clubs Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne Victory, the Australian U-20 Joey's and a China Super League team - to test regional interest, support and capabilities.

NZS CEO Graham Seatter believes the Kiwis have met all of the financial obligations set by the FFA. "After a lot of hard work we believe we have made a strong submission and now it is up to the FFA to make a call tomorrow," Seatter said. "We realise this is a two-horse race now and that the licence isn't ours exclusively," he told media.