By TERRY MADDAFORD
The Football Kingz are ready to move on but if and when they will get to play remains uncertain.
The Australia Soccer Association yesterday extended the deadline again for naming the successful applicants for the revamped Australian league to until the middle of next month. The start date is likely to be a year after that.
The Herald understands the ASA is still pursuing a television deal, commercial partners and a naming-rights sponsor.
The Auckland-based club, according to earlier indications from new ASA boss John ONeill, is almost certain to be included in the planned eight-team competition.
Plans to run a mini league early next year to find the league's representative in next year's Oceania club championship and, in turn, a place in Fifa's rich World Club Championship, have been scrapped, with that place likely to be taken by Perth Glory who won the 2003-04 National Soccer League.
The Kingz have welcomed the chance to ensure, initially, that they have a bid which will succeed and, beyond that, have the time to prepare for the new competition, talking of reviewing the brand and ensuring the product is right.
Heading the new company is Auckland businessman Anthony Lee, who will take over as chairman. South African Guy Hedderwick, who has been running the Kingz for some months as general manager, will be the chief executive.
English-based South African businessman Brian Katzen will remain the driving force, taking a 60 per cent shareholding in the company. Other shareholders are Lee (20 per cent), Chris Turner (10 per cent), Sky Television (5 per cent) and New Zealand Soccer (a non-cash 5 per cent).
New Zealand Soccer will provide administrative, marketing and event management support. The new club will have a seven to 10 person board. NZ Soccer board member Ian Wells will represent the national association on the board, joining Katzen, Lee and Turner as the initial appointees.
The Turner-led company which ran the club for their first five years is no more. Hedderwick said the old company, Football Kingz (1999) Ltd, have expressed their desire to table an offer to all creditors, including Ericcson Stadium.
In confirming the decision announced some weeks ago that the Kingz would return to North Harbour Stadium as their headquarters, Hedderwick said the club had an open mind on a possible change of name for the club.
Meanwhile, New Zealand coaches Stu Jacob and Clive Campbell have named a predictable under-20 to play their Chilean counterparts in a one-off international at North Harbour Stadium tonight, whereas the visitors will have problems in naming their starting line-up.
Midfielder Michael Mayne will lead the New Zealand team in what is expected to be a tough match for the all New Zealand-based team against a Chilean side who beat Australia 4-2 and lost 3-1 in two matches last week.
* Australian coach Frank Farina is taking no chances in the upcoming Oceania Confederations Cup qualifiers against the Solomon Islands.
Farina yesterday named the strongest possible squad for the matches in Honiara and Sydney, including Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka in the all-overseas-based 20-strong line-up. Only Birmingham City's Stan Lazaridis is missing. The two countries drew 2-2 at the Oceania Nations Cup in Adelaide in June at the tournament in which New Zealand were eliminated.
By TERRY MADDAFORD