Football Federation Australia (FFA) chief executive David Gallop has given his most promising indication yet that Wellington could remain part of the A-League next season.
Wellington's A-League future has been on a knife's edge since the side's request for a 10-year licence extension was declined by the governing body last October.
The club, whose current licence expires at season's end, was instead offered a four-year deal.
Gallop declared in October the Phoenix could not "squat on a licence" when they had not performed well enough in a number of areas including crowds, TV ratings and membership to guarantee their future.
But, following reports claiming an agreement was all but made, he has now publicly recognised Wellington's place in the competition - though reiterated nothing was a done deal yet.
"We're talking to Wellington Phoenix, we think that there's a result that can be a win-win for both sides," Gallop said.
"But we're not there yet, we've got to keep those talks going.
"We've said for some time that we're looking for a greater contribution from the Wellington Phoenix and from the other stakeholders in New Zealand.
"But at the same time we recognise the place they have in the A-League, and that's important to recognise as well in any arrangement we come to for the future."
Gallop couldn't put a time frame on a new potential deal but said he was hopeful it would not take much longer.
Welnix chairman Rob Morrison is dealing with a recent family loss, which Gallop said had understandably slowed the process.
This week, the Phoenix dismissed a Fairfax Media report stating the club had agreed to a four-year extension in an incentivised deal with strict provisions.
Last week, it was also reported they were set to be granted a 10-year licence.
Phoenix general manager David Dome said then there had been "no major advances" in ongoing talks.
FFA had previously extended the licences of all nine Australia-based A-League clubs until 2034.