Southern Expansion CEO Chris Gardiner believes Steering Group’s bid has the communal and financial backing to succeed in the A-League and W-League.
Gardiner — whose bid includes Chairman Morris Iemma and Head of Football Craig Foster — told The Women’s Game Southern Expansion have been able to provide a W-League since last year.
“We offered to put a team in the W-League to fill the vacant tenth spot so we’re very confident about sustaining the club we create,” Gardiner said.
“We already have a sizeable amount in our bank.
"We sent off our accounts to Football Federation Australia, so we don’t believe funding is a problem at all,” he said.
While the FFA noted W-League bids would not be considered in the criteria for A-League expansion, Gardiner argued a suitable club would have the resources to sustain teams in both leagues.
“We’re bidding for the A-League, but we’ve made it clear we want a W-League at the same time,” he said.
“It is fundamental in our definition of what a modern, professional football club should look like in Australia.”
Southern Expansion’s bid has received backlash, most recently from Sydney FC chairman Scott Barlow, who criticised the perceived ‘cannibalisation’ of the Sky Blues’ fanbase.
Gardiner rubbished any suggestions his side would encroach on any local A-League or National Premier League sides, and believed his side could tap into one of Australia’s largest football markets.
“We have good relationships with our associations,” he said.
“We would work with them and make sure we have aligned pathways.
“We would be the only [bidding] team to establish an academy team in the women’s NPL, [so] we would ensure there is a talent pool sustaining all the teams in our region.
“Sutherland is one of the largest [associations] in the country … so we’re not worried we won’t be able to find sufficient talent to fill the existing NPL clubs and our own academy program.”
The FFA will release its shortlisted candidates by the end of June, with the successful bids announced on 31 October.