Three new Melbourne consortiums were among 10 bidders who submitted written expressions of interest to an FFA board meeting held in Sydney on Tuesday, and the inside word was that two of the Melbourne bids were "very well developed".
The FFA yesterday gave strong indications that it would fast-track the league's expansion from 2009-10 to as many as 12 clubs after the strong flurry of interest, despite the short lead time into yesterday's deadline.
It is understood that Melbourne's strongest bid, under the operating title of Melbourne Heart, is headed by businessman Peter Sidwell.
Colin DeLutis, a former board member of AFL club Carlton, is believed to be leading a second bid, while the third expression of interest has come from a complete unknown, Jim Marinis.
"All three want to play out of the new stadium at Olympic Park, so there has been nothing of the supposed interest from Geelong and two of the three (Melbourne) bids are very well developed," an FFA source said.
"The two have fulfilled criteria, including the level of capital required as well as football operations, marketing, media operations and board structure."