Australia's men's football league, the A-League, has revealed plans to establish expansion clubs in Canberra and Auckland within 18 months.
The Australian Professional Leagues (APL), administrators of the A-League Men and Women competitions, on Wednesday announced it is seeking to add two new teams to the men's league in time for the 2024-25 season, a Xinhua report said.
It marks the first expansion of the men's league since the APL was unbundled from Football Australia (FA) in 2020.
Danny Townsend, chief executive of the APL, said the new governing body would take a different approach to expansion to FA, targeting existing populations not currently represented by a club to "hit the ground running."
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Markets for expansion were judged on four criteria - potential fan base, expanding the league's footprint, stadiums and whether it would cannibalize existing fans - with Canberra and Auckland ticking multiple boxes.
Auckland could be set up as an entirely new club, becoming the second New Zealand-based A-League club, while Canberra United - which has existed as a standalone team in the women's competition since 2008 - would add a men's team.
"Our time in the market in both Canberra and Auckland has actually strengthened our resolve and conviction around those two markets," Townsend was quoted by ESPN.