Sources: Wellington Phoenix set to join W-League this season

Wellington Phoenix are close to announcing the inclusion of team in the upcoming W-League season, sources have told ESPN.

A meeting of club owners earlier this week gave the proposal a green light and, with kick-off for the new season just over nine weeks away, there is one final roadblock still keeping the Wellington women in limbo.

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The contention appears to be around negotiations in the licence fee payment currently due by the club, however hopes are high that the issue will be swiftly resolved.

In June this year, Phoenix CEO David Dome went on the record stating his club's desire to field a women's team in the W-League, particularly if the joint Australia-New Zealand bid to host the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup was successful.

With hosting rights now confirmed, the inclusion of a Wellington team is seen as a critical factor in not only player development for the New Zealand women's national team, but also to provide a pathway for players in the wider Pacific region.

The financial and logistical challenges presented by regular trans-Tasman travel would likely mean that the team would be based in Australia for the duration of the season and, while the club coaching staff are yet to be confirmed, Football Ferns head coach Tom Sermanni certainly sees the move as a positive one.

While he remains in the dark regarding any final decision on the team's inclusion, Sermanni is crystal clear on the benefits such a move would bring.

"The inclusion of a Wellington W-League team would be significant in the elite development pathway for New Zealand women's football and having the players together on a full-time professional basis would be a huge step forward," Sermanni told ESPN.

The W-League is scheduled to kick off on December 27.