A-League expansion deadline looms as South Melbourne secures MP backing

South Melbourne bid chairman Bill Papastergiadis.

A-League aspirants are putting the final touches to their bid documents over the next few days as the FFA's deadline for the submission of applications looms.

The EOI (Expression of Interest) timeline calls for bidders to put forward their detailed plans by the end of next week, with a crowded field likely to be jostling for two places the FFA has said will be available for the next phase of A-League expansion at the start of the 2019-20 season.

There has been plenty of noise from several candidates, particularly in Sydney where Southern Expansion and South West Sydney have hogged the headlines.

Team 11, the bid based around the south-east of Melbourne (with Dandenong and the City of Casey at its centre) has also attracted plenty of debate while the consortium planning to develop its own club and stadia in Melbourne's western suburbs has played its cards closer to its chest.

In recent weeks those two have overshadowed the bid from former NSL powerhouse South Melbourne, but the latter insists that while the others might have ambitious plans in their bid books, they have the infrastructure (a stadium) and a club base to make its bid a worthy contender.

South Melbourne on Thursday sought to inject some more grunt into its bid when it unveiled prominent Victorian politician Martin Foley, the state MP for Albert Park and an Andrews government minister, as a supporter of its campaign.

“Bipartisan support is evidenced by having the former Federal Liberal Sports Minister [Andrew Thomson] and now Martin Foley [State Labor minister] on its bid team. We all unite for what is best for the game,'' South's A-League bid chairman Bill Papastergiadis said.

“Martin has worked closely with the club for over eight years. He was instrumental in South achieving its 40-year lease deal [at Lakeside Stadium]. He regularly attends games. He is at many of our events. His presence on the bid team reflects his deep connection to the Club. This appointment is not symbolic as he has been deeply involved in the Club for many years.''

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