Asian expansion idea for A-League unfeasible: Gallop

​FFA CEO David Gallop says there is "no enthusiasm" for a proposal to invite teams from Asia to join the Hyundai A-League.

Recently Central Coast Mariners owner Mike Charlesworth contracted English football consultant Jon Smith to explore the prospect of Asian teams joining the Hyundai A-League.

It’s understood they held discussions with both the AFC and FIFA to get some feedback over the concept.

Under the proposal, up to six teams from the South-East Asia, like Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia would have become members of the Australian competition

But Gallop poured cold water over the idea and believes it would not get the nod from FIFA anyway.

“At the current time we have no enthusiasm for this type of expansion,” Gallop told News Ltd (

“When I first spoke to these guys [Charlesworth and Smith] about it, I said to them: ‘You need to cross the Grand Canyon in a rocket ship. When it lands on the other side it needs to explode into cash to make this worth looking at.’

“There’s been no indication of any commercial return guaranteed. I didn’t discourage them - I wanted them to go to see for themselves how problematic their proposal was. What conceptually on one level might look OK, on another had no meat to the bone.”

Gallop said FIFA and the AFC would not permit that type of cross-country competition, and if they did it would only be in countries without an established league.

“It would be in direct competition with the Asian Champions League, which on any view is still a fledgling exercise for Australian football, where a number of games are difficult to sell in terms of attendance and TV ratings,” he said.

“It would potentially damage our domestic TV relationship, given there is no guarantee of ratings success. In fact current ratings suggest local derbies are far more popular with viewers than games against Asian teams.

“There are significant travel and logistical problems associated with up to six teams participating in the A-League. It’s clearly not going to dedicate resources to the development of Australian players.

“We allowed [the concept] to be explored to a logical decision point. If we had not, we’d have been criticised for that as well,” he said.

“It was time to stop expecting Jon Smith to explore this for free. But if we truly were to take this forward, we have the expertise and the relationships internally.

“The current A-League is still very much at a stage of haves and have-nots financially, and this season has again highlighted that closing the gap is a challenge.”