10 Nov 2015

NZ Football reiterates support of Phoenix

10:49 am on 10 November 2015

New Zealand Football President Deryck Shaw has reiterated the national body's on-going commitment to supporting the efforts of the Wellington Phoenix in securing a long-term future in the A-League.

Phoenix fans

Phoenix fans Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Football Federation Australia denied the Wellington soccer club a 10-year license extension last month casting doubt over how much longer the side could play against the nine other A-League clubes, who all have licences that run until 2034.

"As we have consistently indicated we are 100 percent behind the Phoenix and their presence in the A-League," Shaw said.

"They play a pivotal role in the pathway we are shaping from grassroots football to the international arena and I think everyone understands the importance of New Zealand's sole professional club to football in this country."

Shaw's show of solidarity comes after Phoenix chair Rob Morrison called for New Zealand Football (NZF) to give tangible support to the club. Morrison said the penny hadn't dropped at NZF as to how important the Phoenix, Oceania's only professional club, was to the sport and to the city of Wellington.

But Shaw said the NZF's comittment to Phoenix was obvious, with both financial and organisational support having been offered to the club in recent times.

"Over the past three years we have made available significant funding to their organisation, in support of the work they do in developing and preparing a number of players that feature in the wider international programmes, while also creating an on-field outlet for their growing player pathway by including the Phoenix in both the ASB Premiership and ASB Youth League competitions," said Shaw.

"Wellington Phoenix ASB Premiership coach Andy Hedge moved into his current position from New Zealand Football and his role is co-funded by our organisation and the Phoenix."

Andy Martin of New Zealand Football.

Andy Martin of New Zealand Football. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

"The football community in New Zealand can rest assured that both myself and Andy Martin continue to be in close dialogue with Wellington Phoenix management and other key stakeholders regarding their position and, once we receive their proposals, will be exploring all options available to us to ensure their continued existence."

Yesterday Morrison met the outgoing FFA chairman Frank Lowy and chief executive David Gallop in Sydney to discuss the club's future.

The Phoenix host Adelaide United on Friday night, and they're hoping to attract as many as 15-thousand fans to send a message to FFA about the club's importance.

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