5 Mar 2015

Phoenix hope A-League future will be resolved soon

4:38 pm on 5 March 2015

The Wellington Phoenix are hopeful their future in the A-League football competition will be confirmed by the end of the current season.

On Thursday the club announced coach Ernie Merrick and his assistant Chris Greenacre have re-signed for a further three years, taking them through until 2018.

Ernie Merrick

The Wellington Phoenix are confident the club is going in the right direction under coach Ernie Merrick who has re-signed until 2018. Photo: Photosport

The club's A-League licence currently expires at the end of next season.

Rob Morrison, the chair of Welnix which runs the Phoenix, says they are in talks with Football Federation Australia and the Asian Football confederation and he's confident their licence will be renewed.

"There's a lot of variable in there and some of those things are out of our control," Morrison says. "We're a bit of a hybrid. We sit in Oceania but we're playing in the AFC (so) there's a lot of hoops to jump through in with the AFC in terms of getting a licence extension."

Rob Morrison says he wouldn't do it all again with the Phoenix.

Welnix chairman Rob Morrison. Photo: Photosport

"There's a few things we are trying to resolve with the FFA but also from the ownership group's point of view we've carried most of this (the risk) for the past few years and there are a lot of other beneficiaries in terms of the Phoenix performance so there are going to have to be other groups that contribute as well."

Morrison singled those groups out as New Zealand Football, the Wellington City Council and the Wellington Stadium.

He didn't want to put a specific date on when an announcement might be made.

"Because then there is a constant 'why haven't you signed?' and then people get concerned because we haven't signed but I don't have concerns at the moment that's for sure."

Merrick says the lack of a licence didn't put him off extending his contract.

"I've been around this league for eight seasons. I know the FFA are pretty happy with our performance and what we do and the fact we don't rely on any handouts," he says.

"We're producing good players and our team are more competitive than ever... so we're not the sort of team you'd allow to leave this league. I think they want to build the league, not reduce it."