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A-League expansion ruled out after TV deal

Angela Habashy, NZ Newswire November 20, 2012, 5:33 am

Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy ruled out any A-League expansion for at least four years as he hailed the sport's long-awaited multi-million dollar broadcast rights deal.

Lowy described it as a "bloody good day" and admitted there was a huge sense of relief as he unveiled the $A160 million ($NZ203.4 million) four-year deal on Monday.

"The former sleeping giant of Australian sport is awake. He's out of bed, he's in the street and now has some cash in his pockets," new FFA chief executive David Gallop declared.

The deal will bring the A-League to free-to-air television in Australia for the first time with the rights to be shared between Foxtel, Fox Sports and SBS.

Beginning from the 2013/2014 season, SBS will show one live match every Friday in the deal that ends on July 1, 2017.

The deal delivers $A148m in cash to the game, with $A12m in advertising and marketing.

The new funds will allow the FFA to raise the grant it gives each club to cover the full $A2.5m cost of the salary cap, up from the current $A1.9m they receive.

Lowy however insisted A-League expansion was not on the cards any time soon, saying keeping the current 10 clubs sustainable was the FFA's priority.

He hailed the success of new side Western Sydney but admitted "we paid our price" after expansion clubs folded in both North Queensland and the Gold Coast.

"Unless some big present appears from somewhere we wouldn't be increasing the teams between now and 2017."

Lowy also foreshadowed a hard line in negotiations with the players' union over a new collective deal, insisting that the "existing salary cap arrangements will not change".

"As I understand, the current average salary is about $110,000. I don't think that will increase greatly," he said.

But with the current collective deal set to expire in April next year, the Professional Footballers Association boss Nick Holland is hopeful the role players played in the improved deal will be recognised.

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