The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) has announced the award of a full A-Leagues licence to Bill Foley.
The full licence award confirms Auckland’s entry to the A-Leagues for the 2024-25 season, with the men’s team due to join the Isuzu UTE A-League Men in Season 2024-25 and the Liberty A-League Women’s team in Season 2025-26.
Bill Foley is the founder and general partner of Black Knight Football Club, which owns AFC Bournemouth in the Premier League and has a significant investment in FC Lorient of France’s Ligue 1. He is also founder and owner of the US National Hockey League’s 2023 Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights.
Bill Foley, owner of the new Auckland A-Leagues licence said: “It’s an honour to bring a top football club to Auckland. Building a championship team from expansion has been my most exhilarating professional achievement, and I aim to do the same for the fans of New Zealand and particularly the community on the north island. It’s a special place and an area that I know will embrace this team.”
The Hon Stephen Conroy, Chair of the Australian Professional Leagues, said: “In Bill Foley we have a proven global sports investor and operator with a track record of building deep roots in the community, a passion for football, and a long-standing business and personal relationship with New Zealand. “We are delighted to welcome Bill and his team to the A-Leagues and look forward to seeing the club in action next year.”
James Johnson, Chief Executive of Football Australia, said: ““We are pleased to welcome Bill Foley’s involvement with the Auckland expansion club. His investment is an important step in the evolution of the A-Leagues, combining our regional interests with an international perspective. Bill’s experience in sports and his focus on community engagement are valuable as we look forward to the club’s debut in the A-Leagues, offering a fresh and engaging approach for our fans and players.”
Andrew Pragnell, Chief Executive of New Zealand Football, said: “The expansion of the A-Leagues into Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, and the league becoming truly Australasian, is a step change moment in the development of football in New Zealand.
“This is an exciting day and we welcome Bill Foley to the wider football system in this country. Bill has seen the potential of Auckland as a football city and is here for the long haul to help grow and develop the sport.
“The relationship between New Zealand Football and Football Australia has never been stronger and it has been great to see the benefits of co-hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 spread far and wide. This expansion has been in part made possible by these positive trans-Tasman football relations and we look forward to this continuing over the coming years.
“We are truly stronger together and the region as a whole benefits from football development when we are aligned.”
A-Leagues Commissioner, Nick Garcia, joined representatives from Football Australia and New Zealand Football in Auckland to formally award the licence to Bill Foley in Auckland.
Bill Foley also confirmed the appointment of New Zealander Nick Becker, former Premier League and A-Leagues executive, as Chief Executive Officer of the Club.
Supporters who would like to receive updates on the new club – the official name of which will be announced at a future date – can visit AKLfootball24.com.
Football Australia and New Zealand Football will now seek final approval by the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and FIFA.