FFA Cup 2019 Semi Final - Brisbane Strikers v Melbourne City FC
FFA Cup 2019 Semi Final - Brisbane Strikers v Melbourne City FC

Strikers one step closer to A-League spot

THE Brisbane Strikers have positioned themselves to become Queensland's next A-League club after securing million-dollar Chinese investment.

In conjunction with Cantara Global, a social media and marketing company with heavy links to China, Beijing Fortune International and Sports Club Culture (BFISCC) have bought into the Strikers.

It will lead to player pathways between Queensland, China and Europe, Chinese Super League teams using Perry Park as a base from training camps, and the Strikers cementing themselves the leading contender to join an expanded A-League, or at the very least, the mooted national second division.

BFISCC director Elizabeth Wu will join the Strikers board, along with Cantara Global CEO Julianna Suranyi and director of football Salvatore Sottile.

Bruce Atterton-Evans, Salvatore Sottile, Elizabeth Wu and Julianna Suranyi
Bruce Atterton-Evans, Salvatore Sottile, Elizabeth Wu and Julianna Suranyi

Strikers chairman Bruce Atterton-Evans said the club's rich history, which includes an NSL title in 1997, and their recent FFA Cup run had attracted Chinese and European interest.

"This will open up so many avenues for the pathways for the boys now throughout China, Asia and Europe," Atterton-Evans said.

"This is huge for us. The clout and the corporate contacts that these companies can bring to the club is going to be tremendous for the future.

"There are lot of bridges to cross before the 'B-League' becomes a reality, but the A-League is always dangling there.

"I would imagine it would be a good couple of years (to wait for A-League entry) but you need that time to get ready and this is a great first step for us."

Andrew Pengelly celebrates with teammates during the Brisbane Strikers’ memorable FFA Cup run (AAP Image/Dan Peled)
Andrew Pengelly celebrates with teammates during the Brisbane Strikers’ memorable FFA Cup run (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

The A-League has expanded to 11 teams this season with the introduction of a third Victorian club, Western United, and will become a 12-team competition next year when a fifth NSW outfit, Macarthur FC, make their debut.

A-League chief Greg O'Rourke said a second team in Queensland would almost certainly get the nod when the competition grew to 13 or 14 clubs.

"You would not put another team as your 13th or 14th team in Sydney or Melbourne, so by elimination, Brisbane would be one of the key markets we'll look at," O'Rourke said.

"The geographic location of the possibilities for the next clubs are pretty clear, and Brisbane is on the shortlist."

Wu said she wanted the Strikers, currently an NPL Queensland club, to play at the highest level possible.

"With the Strikers getting international top level coaches and players coming here, this definitely will happen," Wu said.

"For me this is a very exciting moment. We have been preparing this for two years."

News Corp Australia


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