FFA block Penrith Panthers bid for Western Sydney Wanderers

Penrith Panthers want a new stadium and thought Western Sydney Wanderers could help them get it - Matt King

A plan for a new stadium in Sydney's western suburbs led the NRL side to inquire about a purchase of the A-League club.

A bid to buy into FFA-owned Western Sydney Wanderers has been blocked by football's governing body in Australia, according to a Sydney Morning Herald report. Penrith Panthers, the National Rugby League side based twenty miles west of Parramatta-based Wanderers, had apparently launched a bid to purchase the football club and incorporate it into the rugby club, forming a so-called super club Sydney's western suburbs. FFA rejected the move out of hand when relocation to Penrith was a key tenet of the deal.

FFA chairman David Gallopp haughtily explained his position:

"We have been clear from day one that we want to identify the right owners who will respect the culture of the Wanderers and the western Sydney football community. We have given assurances to the fans that the name, colors and the key elements of the club will be enshrined in the sale process. Why would we think about selling the Wanderers to a club from another code? And equally you have to wonder why a club from another code would want to invest their money and spread their resources to build up a rival. I guess it all just shows what a powerhouse the Wanderers have become in the west of Sydney and Australian sport."

It seems the main reason for the Panthers' interest is a stadium battle they face in Penrith. Were the NRL club to incorporate a football club, especially one with such a vibrant and consistent fan base like the Wanderers, the Panthers could force through a new stadium deal in Penrith. Yet the refusal of FFA to consider moving the Wanderers away from Parramatta, where federal government has just invested AU$20m to upgrade and expand Parramatta Stadium from roughly 20,000 to 24,000, eliminates such a transition from even reaching preliminary discussions.

With less than two months left in this offseason, it is unlikely that FFA will find a suitable buyer for the Wanderers before the 2013/14 season begins. But given the importance of the new market to the A-League and the possibility that the club could turn a profit as soon as this season, according to a report in the Financial Review, the federation would be wise to be patient in this process. As Lyall Gorman, Western Sydney's executive chairman, said back in June:

"We just can't afford to take a risk with this brand, because it's one of the jewels in the crown. It's going to be a very careful process to transition it to any new group of owners."

Meanwhile, the Wanderers defeated Wellington Phoenix 2-1 last night in a pre-season game at Lily Homes Stadium in nearby Seven Hills in front of a crowd of 4000.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.