Second Sydney side in 2011-12

Football Federation Australia boss Ben Buckley has hailed the decision to place a Hyundai A-League team in western Sydney a 'gigantic leap forward' for the code.

Football Federation Australia boss Ben Buckley has hailed the decision to place a Hyundai A-League team in western Sydney a 'gigantic leap forward' for the code.

Buckley confirmed the inclusion of a western Sydney based team for the 2011/12 season at an announcement at FFA headquarters on Tuesday.

While the decision to hand the licence to the western Sydney consortia came as little surprise, the timing of its inclusion was somewhat unexpected.

Buckley had previously stated his intentions to expand to 12 teams next season with Melbourne Heart already confirmed starters, but he insists the decision to delay the second Sydney team is anything but a setback.

"We are now committed to a team ... in the most populous football region in the country," Buckley said.

"The Western part of Sydney deserves a football team, it deserves a team in the Hyundai A-League, and this is another milestone in the A-League and the evolution of the A-League."

"Of course we would have preferred to have gone next season but, and I stress this, the team now has every opportunity to be successful in the long term."

"We have to look at the Hyundai A-League for the next 10 years, the next 20 years the next 30 years, and giving the team the right amount of time to establish itself and get all the building blocks in place is very important."

Ian Rowden, who will lead a five-man team entrusted with the responsibility of getting the club off the ground, agreed 2011 was the perfect time for a second Sydney club to enter the A-League.

"If you ask could we put a team on the field in 2010 the answer's probably yes, but is that our absolute best model for success long term? No," Rowden, a former Sydney FC board member, said.

"And so we want to provide the absolute most solid foundation for this club that we can and we think 2011/12 is the right way to go."

Rowden stressed the importance of developing a fierce rivalry with Sydney FC but vowed to work with the Sky Blues to grow the game off the field.

"A very, very strong and very, very deep on the field rivalry with Sydney FC is really important," he said.

"We will create a very, very strong rivalry on the football field, no doubt. Behind the scenes we're going to work as best we can with Sydney FC to create partnerships where they need to be created so we see the game ... and the A-League prosper."

Buckley, meanwhile, said the AFL's plans to put a team in western Sydney in 2012 had no bearing on FFA's own expansion strategies.

"We've always said that it's not a race and that we will expand based on our time table and what's good for football not what's good for other codes," Buckley said.

"But I can stress it's an important region strategically for all sports and I guess that's evidenced by the fact that other sports want to expand into that region as well as football."

"So whilst we don't create some sort of artificial timeline based around what others do, clearly we're conscious of what other codes are doing and what their expansion plans are in the competitive environment that we live in."