Australia's A-League is set to expand to ten teams after Football Federation Australia granted provisional licences to two new sides. Federation chairman Frank Lowy said Gold Coast Galaxy and Townsville's Northern Thunder, both from Queensland, would make their debuts next season, provided they satisfy certain criteria within two weeks.
"If they are able to satisfy the criteria within this timeframe, then there will be ten teams in the A-League in 2008/09," Lowy said in a statement. "If not, then they will be considered for entry in 2009/10."
He added that the FFA's goal remained to expand the A-League to 12 sides from the eight that kicked off the competition three years ago. "Ultimately, we believe the A-League has the capacity to be at least a 12-team competition, but our approach needs to be prudent and planned," Lowy continued.
Lowy also revealed that a number of factors were considered when weighing up expansion, including a team's financial security, availability of a suitable stadium, the players available, management structure and the extent of local community support for an A-League club. "We also want to make sure that expansion can be absorbed by the existing clubs," he said.