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Volume 7 No. 149
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A-League Bidder Team 11 Gets Boost From Champion Racehorse

Would-be A-League franchise Team 11 is "hopeful" that it might be able to rely on "investment" from one of Australia's greatest ever racehorses to "boost its bid," according to Michael Lynch of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. If the Team 11 group from Melbourne's southeastern region ends up winning the nod for one of the new A-League licenses, its supporters and backers "can, in a roundabout way, thank the champion racehorse Black Caviar." One of the horse's co-owners is Colin Madden, the managing director of Dandenong-based First Mortgage Lending & Investment. He has "sunk" around A$1M ($732,200) into backing the Team 11 bid, joking, "If it gets up, they can thank Black Caviar just a little," referring to his share of the nearly A$8M ($5.8M) in stake money the sprinter amassed "during her five-season career when she won 25 consecutive races and retired unbeaten." Madden sees the putative football club "as a way of building community spirit" in South East Melbourne. He said, "We are risking a million dollars in this project. Our whole working life has been based here. Twenty years ago, there were 89 different languages spoken in the primary school. That would be double now. We have got to find a way of bringing our communities together rather than blowing them apart. I can think of no better way than through football in this community." Madden is "not expecting to make any money out of the initiative." He added, "I think this will be a heritage investment. What I have found in life is if you put something in, you get something back" (SMH, 11/28).

NO CASH COMPENSATION: In Sydney, Dominic Bossi reported A-League expansion bidder Southern Expansion is "offering to pay a seven-figure sum to Sydney FC as compensation for encroaching" on its territory. Should the Sutherland Shire-based bid gain entry, it will propose paying a A$1M "structural adjustment package" to Sydney FC, which has "staunchly opposed" the inclusion of the group as part of A-League expansion. Sydney FC declined to comment, though club sources said that there has been "no direct communication from Southern Expansion on any matter and that the Sky Blues have been made aware of Southern Expansion's intention to offer compensation only through third parties." It is understood Sydney FC "will not accept any cash payment from Southern Expansion" and the Sky Blues are "in no mood to enter negotiations with the group over any form of potential compensation, irrespective of the offer" (SMH, 11/28).

GROWING PAINS: In Sydney, Vince Rugari reported next season "could be the longest in A-League history," with Football Federation Australia "trapped between a rock and a hard place" as it ponders the structure of an expanded competition. Expansion is "still a live possibility" for the '19-20 campaign. However, no decision has been taken yet by FFA management on how many rounds the A-League should have with 12 teams, and "there are split views" among various stakeholders. There appear to be three options and "none of them are ideal." The first is to play 22 games, with each side playing each other twice. The second option is to play 33 games -- six more rounds than the current competition. Fox Sports is understood to be "somewhat resistant to this as it would lead to further costs in broadcasting the additional matches and more overlap with the winter codes." The third, and "most controversial," option is to keep the season at the current length of 27 games. The catch is that "not every team would play each other the same amount of times" (SMH, 11/28).