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Lowy cold on A-League expansion

Football Federation Australia chief Steven Lowy has kicked down the road any expansion of the A-League.

In his most considered statements about expanding the A-League since taking on the sport's top job last November, Lowy says he wants to grow the competition but is more focused on making the league sustainable.

"Nine teams in Australia is not enough," he said.

"It's not enough for us to penetrate the commercial opportunities ... it's not enough for us to properly compete against AFL, rugby league, rugby union and cricket."

Then comes the but.

Lowy said "pockets" of opportunity in the white-hot competitive sporting market existed for football but they would need to be "carefully nurtured" over the long-term.

"It's great to talk about growth and expansion, but it's ridiculous if you're not taking account of what the current day environment is," he said.

"It's wonderful to dream, it's wonderful to have a guiding vision, but at the end of the day we really don't want clubs falling over because we've done things too quickly and put them in the wrong spot, or they're not properly enough capitalised.

"It's about sustainability and substance and enough capital and business acumen. That is the harsh reality of running a club."

Lowy said in the past 12 months, unsettled situations at Wellington Phoenix, Brisbane Roar and Newcastle Jets had improved, pleasing FFA.

The expectation at head office is that the Jets will be sold soon.

Without expansion, the long-time dream of fervent Australian fans - promotion and relegation - remains off the agenda.

Australia is one of the few footballing nations without a football "pyramid" that allows minnows to climb to the top and giants to be cut down to size.

The extension of Australian A-League club licenses to 2034 effectively ensures there won't be a two-tier system for the next two decades, but Lowy said it was in his thinking.

"I'd like to think we will see it at some point," he said.

"We've got 10 licenses out there and they've got licenses for a period of time ... to encourage investment in to the clubs you also need to give some sort of longevity and certainty to their tenure."

"But I wouldn't suggest that just that on its own would exclude the concept.

"We all love the game, we all understand the importance of promotion and relegation."