D-Day arrives as bidders future goes on the line
Football Federation Australia's board will dash the dreams of some A-League expansion hopefuls on Wednesday, but soften the blow for those who miss out on admission to the competition.
After a year-long process, football's governing body will meet on Wednesday in Sydney to make recommendations on expanding the league for the first time since 2012.
It's expected two teams will be chosen as 'preferred bidders' by the governing body during the meeting.
That's expected to become public on Thursday, though a host of scenarios are still possible.
FFA could lock those teams in unconditionally, or give them time to confirm arrangements - such as seeking funding for a new stadium.
Teams could be brought in next season, which begins in October 2019, push them out a year, or stagger entry over the next two seasons.
And, of course, there's the small matter of which teams are selected. Team 11 in Melbourne's South-East and South-West Sydney are seen as frontrunners, while bids from Canberra, South Melbourne, Western Melbourne and Sydney's Southern Expansion also on the table.
The X-Factor is how the A-League plans to deal with Wellington Phoenix.
The New Zealand club's license is conditional on meeting certain benchmarks by the end of the 2020 campaign, and signs aren't good.
FFA is likely to consider this issue, as well as its plans to arrive at a 16-team league in the medium term, on Wednesday.
That will mean giving the unsuccessful bids hope they could be admitted in the next phase of expansion.
It will also mean restoring hope to other consortiums - particularly from Brisbane - seeking to gain entry.
FFA chiefs are eager to create a derby in the Queensland capital but weren't able to shortlist a potential option from the original bids.