The decision on which new A-League club will join the nation’s premier competition is set to be announced on Wednesday (12 December) as the Football Federation Australia board meets to discuss the bids.
Football fans across the country wait with bated breath to find out which bid to have a team in the competition is successful. With six bids still in the running, four hearts will be crushed when the announcement is made.
It is expected the new-look FFA board lead by Chris Nikou and Canberra’s own Heather Reid will decide which two new clubs will join the A-league in the next 24 hours.
A team from Victoria is seen as a certainty to be granted an additional license, with NSL powerhouse South Melbourne and start-up clubs Team 11 and Western Melbourne the three bids from the state. So it seems like the final spot will be fought between Canberra, Sydney’s Southern Expansion and the South West Sydney Group.
So will Christmas come early for Canberra’s bid team?
The FFA board will take a number of factors into account including geographic location, fan base, stadium and the all-important factor of money. According to bid organiser Michael Caggiano, his A-league bid covers all those bases.
Caggiano has been bullish with his belief that Canberra deserves a team and all football fans in the nation’s capital agree with him.
“I am confident of what we put forward but there are a few nerves about it because you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t. We have put our best foot forward and there is no stone left unturned,” Caggiano told Region Media.
“I am sure this is the best bid Canberra could have ever put forward. The investors we have brought to the table, the community engagement in the whole region, there is nothing else we could have done.”
When comparing the six bids, Canberra has been perceived as not financially viable as the Melbourne or Sydney bids, but Caggiano flatly denied that was the case and said it is a misconception.
“There is different types of wealth and different type of value that each investor can bring,” he said. “I don’t know some of the other backers or investors for some of the bids but if it was about pure wealth, we have the richest group of people in the room.
“Our backers are all about value and the value they can bring to the organisation and the region and in return what value a professional football setup can bring to their operations. From what I understand, our bid is as financially strong, if not stronger, than any of the other bids on the table.”
Canberra’s bid has investors locked in, as well as a coaching structure set in place. There is already a deal in place to play at GIO Stadium and hopes to build a $30 million state-of-the-art training facility.
The ACT Government has also thrown its support behind the bid and there is an alignment with the Australian Sports Foundation.
The bid also has an innovative merchandise model that will deliver more affordable replica wear and has the support of all NPL clubs and football associations in the region.
Most importantly, they have the community’s support.
When asked to highlight his bid’s strengths, Caggiano said Canberra’s A-league bid has three aspects that no other bid possesses:
- A region that is not represented in the A-league that is crying out for a team
- As of today, 8,000 members who want their own team
- A path for the community to engage and own particular aspects of a professional team. They are given the chance to be part of history, to choose the team colours and badge.
“Imagine looking at the trophy cabinet in years to come and looking back on everything we have achieved,” he said, painting the picture. “People can claim to help set up the team.”
Original Article published by Lachlan Roberts on the RiotACT.