Sydney FC backs Macarthur A-League bid

Emma Kemp

Sydney FC chairman Scott Barlow has thrown his support behind the Macarthur A-League bid and issued a scathing attack on the "deeply flawed" Southern Expansion proposal he warns would "cut the club off at our knees".

In a robust statement over the introduction of two new teams in 2019-20, Barlow has embraced expansion "done in the right way" and made clear his allegiances lie with the other nine existing club chairmen, who this week launched a broadside at Football Federation Australia's handling of the timeline and process.

But he wholeheartedly backed the southwest region's United for Macarthur bid, which has support from Campbelltown Mayor George Brticevic and a pledged cash injection from billionaire property developer Lang Walker.

"The Macarthur region is the future of Sydney," Barlow said.

"This is where a big successful club can be based, in the heart of a growing community and with a fan base that has a real sense of ownership in the club.

"Campbelltown Stadium is the ideal home, they have the full support of the Campbelltown mayor and they now have the support of one of Australia's leading businessmen, Lang Walker AO."

A third Sydney franchise has always been a touchy prospect for the Sky Blues, who draw a chunk of their members and talent from the city's St George and Sutherland Shire areas.

It's also the target region of Southern Expansion's three-pronged campaign offensive, with the bid proposing home games to be initially shared across Cronulla's Southern Cross Group Stadium, Kogarah's Jubilee Oval and WIN Stadium in Wollongong.

Two months ago, bid chief executive Chris Gardiner slammed the Sky Blues for "failure to engage the largest catchment area of any club in the nation" and said the view that Southern Expansion would cannibalise the powerhouse's support was "ridiculous if not embarrassing".

Barlow reiterated that view on Thursday, stating 30 per cent of the club's members come from the south.

"Put simply, it would cut our club off at the knees," Barlow said.

"The Southern Expansion bid is a deeply flawed proposal.

"It is an attempt to pull together three completely unrelated regions of NSW ... the fact that they propose to play their home games out of three different stadiums highlights just how inherently flawed the proposal is.

"The last thing we need in the A-League is a nomadic club and I, along with many others in the game, believe it would be destined to fail."

Barlow also called out Gardiner for what he perceived as a "major conflict of interest" in holding the role of Southern Expansion CEO while also sitting on the board on Football NSW.

FFA declined to comment but aims to confirm a short-list of bidders next week following further consultation with hired help Deloitte.

Fifteen A-League aspirants have submitted a formal expression of interest to enter the competition in 2019-20, including two additional Sydney groups in South-West Sydney (Liverpool) and Wollongong Wolves.