Saturday, December 23, 2006

NZ Soccer asks for email interest in A-League club

New Zealand Soccer has formally asked for expressions of interest from potential investors in a New Zealand-based A-League club. A condition of the investment is hiring All Whites' coach Ricky Herbert, a member of New Zealand's 1982 World Cup team. Football Federation Australia has given Oceania Football Confederation-member NZ Soccer until 31 January to submit a proposal for a club to replace the New Zealand Knights FC in the A-League from next season after the Knights' participation licence was revoked on 14 December.

While NZ Soccer is not in the position to invest in a professional team or have a mandate to do so, chief executive Graham Seatter said the national body is eager to facilitate the creation of “a win-win scenario for a new team, its fans, the Hyundai A-League and the game in New Zealand”. He says he is confident a successful A-League club will not only drive NZ Soccer's participation and performance initiatives but also provide a unique developmental opportunity for the All Whites as they eye the Confederations Cup in South Africa and World Cup qualifying via Asia, also in 2009.

NZ Soccer hopes to receive a commitment of $2 million by mid-January as part of an “ideal” capital base of up to NZ$5 million. "Whilst approximately half of that amount may be adequate for the initial season, this would not create the certainty required for the business to become well established," Seatter told Fred Woodcock of the Dominion Post. "It would almost certainly result in the need for further capital injection in year two, with resulting uncertainty. Significant sponsorship and commercial relationships will depend upon a sustainable model and certainty beyond three years."

He said group-based ownership, loosely modelled on Melbourne Victory FC which has about 60 owners, remained the preferred option, though not every investor would have to make an equal contribution. Seatter said investors should make their interest known to him, via e-mail, and he will then send them a draft framework as soon as possible, to be followed by a prospectus.

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