Wellington Phoenix have today released the following statement regarding speculation around the club's Hyundai A-League licence and its future.
"As a club we are loath to comment on speculation around the club but given the paucity of fact checking by media outlets we are responding to some recent stories by two of those outlets," the statement read.
"On Wednesday Fairfax media carried a story stating “South Melbourne says it is also looking to do some sort of deal with the Phoenix...” and that they “ had initiated talks with the Nix almost a year ago”.
"Fairfax ran that story without contacting the Phoenix and without bothering to check the facts.
"For the record the Phoenix are not doing any deal with South Melbourne, we are not in negotiations with them and the last official contact that the Phoenix had with South Melbourne was August 2016.
"One phone call from Fairfax would have established this.
"Today SBS have published a story claiming, amongst other things, that the Brisbane Strikers, another expansion club, “want to make a stand-alone purchase, whilst the Phoenix are seeking to maintain a footprint in the form of team colours, or a percentage of ownership”. They go on to quote Strikers Chairman Bruce Atterton-Evans “ I can say talks are ongoing” whilst declining to divulge any of the detail of the negotiations.
"They also quote another apparent associate of the Strikers, Miron Bleiberg stating that the club had been ahead of the curve in their approach to Wellington and “... they’ve had a few more approaches but ours still stands”.
"This is pure fairy tale stuff. The Phoenix have made no approach to the Brisbane Strikers, we have had no discussions with them and there are no talks on going. Can we make it any clearer than that.
"No one from SBS fact checked this article with the Phoenix, it doesn’t even rank as mediocre journalism.
"The SBS article also states, following on from the Fairfax article, that David Dome the GM of the Phoenix and Rob Morrison the Chairman, visited Bill Papastergiadis from South Melbourne last year in Melbourne, “seeking to off load 25% of the club”.
"This is not true.
"The only meeting the Phoenix had in Melbourne, with South Melbourne, took place in June 2016 and that was in response to an approach from South Melbourne to the Wellington Phoenix. There has been no contact since August 2016 , apart from an email from South Melbourne three days ago which the Phoenix have not replied to.
"It would appear that some of the expansion clubs think it is good business to conduct their negotiations via the media. That is not a view shared by the Wellington Phoenix.
"Although we do not want to respond to each piece of speculation, we will endeavour to keep the fans, members and sponsors updated where possible, especially when the media is an apparent adapter of Vinge’s pseudo-laws.
"Listen to this full audio interview for more information: https://bit.ly/2qY8lb"