Wednesday, 21 September 2011

If Canberra is smart we could grab an A-League vacancy - soon.

The Capital doesn't have an A-League team, the FFA don't want the Capital, it can't be maintained with the Brumbies and Raiders and now GWS in the city.

You've heard it all before.

But when you step back from the emotion it's Canberra's intelligence that can and needs to get it over the line.

Since FFA met with A-League4Canberra bid after the last Socceroos game (attended I might add by 20,032 people, a record for men's football in Canberra) the bid was slowly but finally sunk by said FFA. Certainly in terms of immediate entry.

Despite Ben Buckley describing the bid as "the best the FFA had ever seen" the FFA allowed the community support to question, gasp for air, before finally exhaling with anger, confusion or disinterest. An unbelievable error for a peak body but they've made a few others since then!

No time to whinge about the FFA - who cares.

If Canberra really want(ed) a team they must be ready. The Bid needs to be so good - the dear old double FA will take us.

Actually as long as we had a few dollars the FFA might have to take us at the moments as clubs continue to go belly-up. Who's next to vacate?

If Canberra could have been financial enough with a real, secure business plan then we could have really given the people of the region, the fan and investor some real confidence of the way ahead.

And of course had we been ready we could have nicked North Queensland's shirts, the odd player and of course their licence and saved the FFA Blushes.

The Wellington Phoenix and Mariners are in tough times, there may be others.

If Western Sydney ever come in - no-one wants 11 teams - Canberra now has an opportunity.

But we need something deeper more solid than the previous bid we produced. Sure it had lots of community support - worryingly the FFA thought it was the best ever bid - and yet it was, in my view, a long long way from securing our financial future over the coming years.

A big cheque would help, of course, but with or without it, Canberra has to find a solution.

A two-tiered approach much like the GWS team is possible. We could join with Wollongong - reducing the home games and pressure to get big crowds to every one of the 14 home games - and in years to come both cities could establish their own teams maybe.

Or plead for a reduced salary cap to match crowds and revenue - allowing us to build from within a budget rather than chucking money at players and trying desperately to recoup revenues from elsewhere, anywhere. We tried that model. It was called the NSL.

The opportunities are there for a Canberra A-League team, particularly given the precarious state of various licences, but have we the nous to do it differently, to do it better.

Canberra prides itself on intelligence - forward thinking - wouldn't it be great to see an improved community bid burst forth from the current bid which made great strides itself - but we need to go further, be more urgent.

We have the Socceroos game coming, the Asian Cup 2015 but where is the legacy for football. What are we doing to hitch our bid to the big guns this time, any time.

We need a plan to move the bid forward, effectively. Can we do it?

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