A-League: Wellington Phoenix ordered to pay $1 million to Football Federation Australia

Wellington Phoenix flags at Westpac Stadium.
Wellington Phoenix flags at Westpac Stadium. Photo credit: Photosport

The Wellington Phoenix have been slapped with an NZ$1m bill by Football Federation Australia (FFA), after failing to meet their off-field requirements this season.

FFA, which runs the A-League, set specific conditions for the Phoenix to meet as part of their temporary four-year licence, which expires at the end of next season.

But according to a Sydney Morning Herald report, the New Zealand football franchise fell well short of their targets.

As things stand, the Phoenix would unlikely be retained in the A-League after the 2019/20 season, despite improved crowd, TV ratings and performance.

The Phoenix averaged just over 8500 fans per game for the season, the third-lowest in the league, while they had 5671 members for the 2018/19 season, short of FFA's target.

"Wellington's position in the competition obviously intersects with the work of the New Leagues Working Group project, but there's a contractual obligation that sits separate to that," FFA chief executive David Gallop told SMH.

"The reasons behind those hurdles are reasonably obvious, given their unique position in an Australian competition.

"Every club in the league is expected to perform in their own geographic area, but also add value to the overall league.

"On one hand, Wellington are a very settled and secure financial part of the A-League in terms of their ownership structure, but on the other hand, they do hold a unique position, which puts them under scrutiny in some quarters."

Club chairman Rob Morrison said it was yet to receive anything formal, but said the payment was "no big deal".

The seven-figure fine is just another hurdle for the Phoenix, which lost coach Mark Rudan to expansion franchise Western United, while superstar Roy Krishna confirmed he wouldn't re-sign with the club to explore other opportunities overseas.

Former Sydney FC assistant Ufuk Talay has taken over as Wellington's head coach.


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