Wollongong Wolves player Luke Wilkshire will lead the club’s A-League expansion bid following the shock departure of chief executive Chris Papakosmas on Friday.
The Wolves have been named as part of a shortlist of 10 teams by Football Federation Australia, with two set to be included in the A-League in 2018-19, announced on October 31.
Papakosmas officially parted ways with the Wolves on Tuesday, the same day the club announced the members of a new high-profile group of backers for the Wolves.
The group will be called the Wollongong Wolves Expansion Committee and will be led by Wilkshire, a renowned international footballer and former Socceroo.
“I’m incredibly proud to be a key part of the group that brings national football back to the South Coast,” Wilkshire said.
"The Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League are the pinnacle of domestic football in Australia.
“The opportunity to have a club in our region participating in those leagues will be a tremendous boost in terms of development pathways and affirmation of our territory's historic football culture.
"Our region draws on over 530,000 people. Having teams in the nation's elite football competitions will provide supporters from this area with the chance to get to WIN Stadium to watch A League and W League games regularly.
“It also offers them an opportunity to watch their team on Fox Sports or WIN TV representing the region and competing on the national, and hopefully one day, the international stage."
The Wollongong Wolves Expansion Committee also consists of prominent local business figures including Tory Lavalle (Multi Civil and Rail Services), Angela Bernardi (BLG Business Advisers), Chris Sheppard and Craig Osborne (RMB Lawyers), Chris Halios-Lewis (WIN Television Finance Manager) and Paul Knight (MD – Djenbella Group/CEO – Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council).