Struggling Wellington Phoenix rule out immediate sale

The Wellington Phoenix only won five league matches in the previous A-League season. (AFP pic)

WELLINGTON: Wellington Phoenix’s owners on Tuesday denied they were poised to sell the club’s A-League license but confirmed they were open to approaches from potential investors.

News Corp Australia reported at the weekend that the New Zealand football club’s owners, Welnix, were in talks with bidders who wanted to set up a new club in southern Sydney.

Phoenix chairman Rob Morrison ruled out a full sale but said an arrangement was possible where some home games were played in Australia.

“We’ve always been open to the fact that if we could find another investor that would be a good thing because at some stage the Welnix group have said they want to get the club to a sustainable level,” he told Radio Sport.

The underperforming Phoenix’s spot in the league is only guaranteed until the end of the 2019-20 season, with administrators wanting better results and attendances to keep it going.

The club won only five matches this season and are still without a permanent head coach after Darije Kalezić left less than a year after taking the job.

The A-League has already announced plans for two new clubs in 2019-20 and appears more interested in Australian expansion than retaining the Phoenix.

Morrison said the Phoenix should not be singled out as a “whipping boy” because crowd and television numbers were down across the entire league.

He said Football Federation Australia should sort out its own governance problems raised by FIFA rather than criticising the Phoenix.

“With the existing governance structure, both board and management, the A-League is going nowhere,” he said.

“Unless we see significant change there, it’s difficult to see how the A-League is not going to die a slow death.”