Wellington Phoenix chairman Rob Morrison has called for New Zealand Football to "step up" in the battle to save the A-League club.
In his first public comments since Football Federation Australia denied their request for a 10-year licence extension, Morrison said it was time the governing body recognised how "vital" the Phoenix are to the sport in New Zealand by providing them with tangible support.
"Personally, I really don't think the penny has dropped at New Zealand Football, as to how critical maintaining the Phoenix is," Morrison told stuff.co.nz.
"If we lose the Nix, football in this country goes back years.
"You've had millions of dollars in private funding go into football, via the Phoenix.
"There hasn't been a bigger single infusion of funding into a football team, as far as I'm aware, than what we've seen privately go into the Phoenix.
"It's critical that New Zealand Football step up. We've heard plenty of words, but we need to see some actions as well."
Morrison did not directly address the Phoenix's plans around FFA's counter-offer of a four-year licence extension, or the recent comments from FFA chairman Frank Lowy and chief executive David Gallop regarding Wellington's contribution to the A-League.
However, he revealed the Welnix consortium was keen to help fund a high-performance unit and an English-language school in Wellington - but won't do so unless the club's long-term future in the A-League is secured.
"For us to stay around, we need to understand that other people recognise it's important," he said.
"What I've consistently said is Welnix is not the beneficiary of this and we're not.
"Wellington is, football is increasingly, and so what we want to see is the people that are the beneficiaries actually standing up and saying: OK we need to be vocal about supporting this, but we also need to put in place some actionable things. It's quite critical."