31 May 2011

No way Phoenix moving to Auckland, says Serepisos

2:41 pm on 31 May 2011

Wellington Phoenix Football Club owner Terry Serepisos and the sport's governing body have rejected suggestions the club may be moved to Auckland.

Wellington City Councillor John Morrison says he has good grounds to believe New Zealand Football is looking at starting a syndicate football club in Auckland if "the worst came to the worst" and Mr Serepisos was no longer in charge of the Phoenix.

Mr Serepisos, a Wellington property developer, is facing ongoing questions about the financial viability of his companies.

He told Morning Report on Tuesday that talk of a move is ludicrous and said the club was continuing with the Australian A-League football tournament for the next five years.

"New Zealand Football has absolutely no say in anything to do with the Phoenix," Mr Serepisos said, adding that it was entirely between the team and Football Federation Australia.

New Zealand Football chairman Frank van Hattum says the club is a private entity and suggestions of a move to Auckland are premature.

"At the end of the day Terry has kept coming up with the goods ... so until he doesn't do that then it's not in our right or anyone else's right to make assumptions or claims about how or where we might solve that issue."

Mr van Hattum says New Zealand Football would only step in and work with Football Federation Australia if Mr Serepisos failed to deliver.

The managing director of vehicle company Giltrap Group denied a report that the firm was in talks with New Zealand Football to move the club. Richard Giltrap said the company had no intention of getting involved with the Wellington Phoenix.

Meanwhile, Mr Serepisos said he is absolutely confident he will remain the owner of the club for the next five years.

He says it has been a challenging time but his current financial situation is fine and he is selling and restructuring a lot of his assets.