NZ Football wants South Island A-League side

NZ Football CEO Andrew Pragnell.
Photo: Photosport

New Zealand Football believes the country could field three professional clubs competing in the A-League.

Auckland have been given a license to enter the competition next year with the club backed by American billionaire Bill Foley.

The Auckland team will join Wellington Phoenix in the series and Football New Zealand CEO Andrew Pragnell said the country can support a lot of clubs.

“I think we have enough players for three clubs,” said Pragnell RNZ Morning Report.

“Auckland is one of the biggest cities in the world without a professional football club,” he said.

Bill Foley from Texas is running the new Auckland A League club.

Bill Foley from Texas is running the new Auckland A League club.
Photo: Andrew Cornaga/

“We know we’re producing the talent but it’s often bypassing parts of Auckland and going straight into Australia or further afield.

“The talent is absolutely there and I think there is scope for a South Island professional team as well in due course.”

Pragnell said the rivalry between the Phoenix and the new Auckland club will encourage improved performances from both sides.

It has been 17 years since Auckland had a side in the Australian League, with the Football Kingz from 1999-2004 and the New Zealand Knights from 2004-2007.

Bill Foley is a sports fan.

He owns Bournemouth in the EPL and in 2017 started the Las Vegas Black Knights, who won the Stanley Cup last year.

Pragnell believes Foley’s involvement provides security for the new club.

“Bill obviously has a lot of wealth, but he also has experience building teams.

“He is the owner of multiple clubs and has produced title-winning teams in the NHL (National Hockey League).

“He’s already started recruiting management and he’s here to stay.”

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