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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Canberra A-league bid looks to grassroots

There was a strong sense of accomplishment and optimism amongst those behind Canberra’s latest A-League team bid when Football Federation Australia (FFA) announced last month that they had made the ten-team shortlist.

But they didn’t have time to rest on their laurels; with their final binding bid due 31 August, they’ve set out to engage the community and do everything they can to meet the criteria established by the FFA.

The Canberra & Capital Region A-League bid launched their foundation membership drive on 10 July, where former Soccer Canberra (now Capital Football) President and ACT MLA Steve Doszpot was posthumously honoured as the club’s inaugural Foundation Member.

Subsequently, organisers have issued a call for interested locals to volunteer and assist.

FFA chief executive David Gallop said his criteria for successful expansion teams involves ensuring they will complement the existing A-League clubs, connect with their region’s fans and the football history, help develop more football pathways, attract interest from sponsors and broadcasters, have financial stability, and operate sustainably.

Organiser Bede Gahan said the bid was at a critical stage and was looking to build an army of volunteers to help get it across the line.

“Quite simply, the next six weeks will determine whether or not this region gets a professional football team, and the FFA have made it clear that community support is a key factor,” Gahan said.

“We need to leave no stone unturned in showing that the Canberra and Southern NSW region has more than enough support for a team here.”

Gahan said volunteers will play a pivotal role in building the club’s free Foundation Membership program.

“The Foundation Membership program has already proven to be hugely popular; we signed up around 2,000 members within 24 hours of the launch,” he said.

“But we need more, and we are looking for individuals, clubs, businesses or organisations from right around Canberra and Southern NSW to get involved.”

The Canberra bid is designed around the ‘50 plus one’ ownership model; itself derived from the one used in Germany’s Bundesliga, where a club’s licence requires members retain control.

Should Canberra’s bid be successful, foundation members will play a role establishing the club’s identity, helping to determine its name, colours and crest.

The FFA will announce the two new expansion clubs for the 2019-20 A-League season on 31 October.

To get behind the Canberra & Capital Region bid, visit cbrregionaleaguebid.com.au

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