Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy has placed further doubt on the future of Gold Coast United in the A-League, but has opened the door for a Canberra club to join the competition.
Speaking to Fox Sports FC on Tuesday, Lowy revealed the FFA had three options to keep the A-League as a 10-team competition, though he hinted at the work ahead if a new club was created in time for the 2012-13 campaign.
The FFA are in control of Gold Coast United after revoking the licence of the club's former owner, Clive Palmer, on February 29.
The move prompted the establishment of rebel association Football Australia, but the FFA seems intent to focus their efforts on ensuring a 10th team will be in action next season.
"Without being too definite, I think I can tell you that we actually have three opportunities now," Lowy said.
"Discussion with the new Gold Coast people, Canberra is still interested, and there's a real opportunity in the western suburbs [of Sydney].
"The question with western suburbs is can we field a team this October? I think we will be able to field a team, but the big question is whether it's this October."
The news was not good for fans of Gold Coast United, with the club potentially having just two games of their A-League life ahead of it before going the way of fellow expansion outfit North Queensland Fury.
Lowy said the FFA was "not against" having a club on the Glitter Strip, but felt it had no other way to act after Palmer's public criticism of the body and his display of "Freedom of Speech" on the club's playing strip several days before his licence was revoked.
"It's quite a difficult question to answer, but the chance of Gold Coast playing in the A-League next season is very little," Lowy said.
"We have terminated the licence - there is a court case coming and we believe we have a strong case. It's a shame that we had to do it but we had no choice.
"We are not against Gold Coast, were just not happy with the performance and behaviour of the current Gold Coast United."
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