Australia’s A-League Men’s and Women’s are set to expand with a second New Zealand-based club handed a new licence.
The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) – which runs the competitions – announced on Tuesday that Auckland will host the newest club in the trans-Tasman leagues.
Auckland will enter the men’s draw for season 2024-25, while the women’s will expand the following season.
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Billionaire American businessman Bill Foley is the key backer behind Auckland’s inclusion.
Foley is a prominent investor in world sports, owning AFC Bournemouth in the Premier League as well as the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, among others.
“It’s an honour to bring a top football club to Auckland,” Foley said on Tuesday.
“Building a championship team from expansion has been my most exhilarating professional achievement, and I aim to do the same for the fans of New Zealand and particularly the community on the north island.
“It’s a special place and an area that I know will embrace this team.”
Auckland will join Wellington as the two New Zealand clubs competing in the leagues.
While the licence has been announced, Football Australia and New Zealand Football now need to get the deal signed off by the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and FIFA.
“We are pleased to welcome Bill Foley’s involvement with the Auckland expansion club,” Football Australia chief James Johnson said.
“His investment is an important step in the evolution of the A-Leagues, combining our regional interests with an international perspective.
“Bill’s experience in sports and his focus on community engagement are valuable as we look forward to the club’s debut in the A-Leagues, offering a fresh and engaging approach for our fans and players.”
The team nicknames are yet to be decided.