Football 3 years ago

Merrick focuses on Phoenix form

  • Merrick focuses on Phoenix form

A New Zealand MP wants his government to send Australia a "please explain" message over the rejection of Wellington Phoenix's 10-year licence request.

The Football Federation of Australia on Monday declined Phoenix's request, throwing the club's future into doubt.

It has instead been offered the option of requesting a four-year licence until the end of the 2019/20 season.

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Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante says New Zealand football could be destroyed if the Wellington club is booted out of the A-League.

NZ First's Fletcher Tabuteau says it's shameful treatment.

"Our Australian cousins have delivered the Wellington Phoenix the football equivalent of an underarm delivery," he said.

"It rams home the second class treatment of Kiwis and Kiwi businesses."

Mr Tabuteau says the issue goes beyond sport because of the Closer Economic Relationship investment protocols between the two countries.

"Clearly, ministers need to act, starting with calls to their counterparts and the FFA for a `please explain'," he said.

"The relationship we have with Australia is increasingly one-sided, despite all the platitudes of fraternal love and respect from the prime minister."

FFA boss David Gallop said Phoenix's application for a 10-year extension didn't meet requirements seen as fundamental to the future growth of the A-League.

Durante says the club is in good shape.

"You look around at the other clubs who are folding, who the FFA are having to prop up," he said.

"We're not a club that's causing any issues within the league, we're a good club that's very stable, and to see other clubs struggling but getting 20-year licences is pretty hard to take."

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