Saturday, 26 May 2012

Canberra astute A-League investors lose less than Facebook shares A-League's only investors who didn't do their dough - what implications for long term growth of football in region? If you are a Canberra A-League Foundation Member you are getting your money back - read the link and check your emails for all the information. 25 May 2012 Dear foundation member, It is with much sadness and regret that I write to inform you that our quest for an A League team for Canberra is over. I would like to thank the many people that helped us on our journey and I am still totally perplexed that despite our credentials, we have been repeatedly denied entry into the A League competition. Our credentials for inclusion were outstanding, we amassed 20,000 signatures on a petition supporting an A League team for the Canberra region and we presented this to the FFA. We have you, our fabulous foundation members (nearly 2,000 of you), who each submitted $200 towards establishing an A League team for Canberra, see the list at We had tremendous support from the ACT Government, with an up-front pledge of $2.5m and ongoing support amounting to nearly $10m over ten years, I would like to personally thank Andrew Barr for this pledge on behalf of the Government. Support has been bipartisan with the current Government providing the pledge and the opposition (thank you Zed Seselja and Steve Dospot) also pledging that they would support. We had fantastic support from investors, I would like to name the principal financial backers of the team without whom the bid would not have been possible, namely Peter Sarris and the NDH Group, John Efkarpidis and the Rock Development/Loop group ( Belconnen markets), the Slavich family (thanks Anna for indulging me), together with a consortium led by Terry Weber and Frank Morella. We also received early financial support from Melissa Fischer and the Altona Football Club, I would like to thank them for their support, especially to help with administrative resources and to promote the Socceroos game against Kuwait at Canberra Stadium, with over 20,000 spectators. Others indicated that they would support but were waiting for a decision from the FFA. We had a major sponsorship pledge from ActewAGL and a number of other Canberra based businesses who indicated that they would support if a team got up. Capital Football also helped financially and the Capital Football board also pledged ongoing financial support, thanks go to Heather Reid as CEO and Rachel Harrigan Board Chair representing board members. In total we had $4m in up front capital and several hundred thousand dollars per annum in sponsorships pledged and ongoing financials to support a team each year, turning a profit in year 4. I would also like to thank the support of PwC, through Terry Weber, Shane West and Renee Dockrill who provided the financial analysis and support for the bid. I would like to thank the trustees of the foundation, namely Terry Weber and Andrew Satsia (I am also a trustee), who have safeguarded the trust funds, that are held with Service One Members Banking and for all their support and help I would like to thank Service One CEO Peter Carlin, Andrew Sella and Rebecca Dorahy for all their admin support. A huge thank you also goes out to the members of the A League 4 Canberra bid committee that I chaired. Namely, Terry Weber (PwC with financials), Ron Forrester (who also helped with media), Andrew Satsia (RSK legal support) Eamonn Flanagan (football tragic and coordinator), Heather Reid (Capital Football), Fethon Ileris & Peter Maybury (Capital Football), Neale Guthrie (representing Canberra stadium and ACT Government), Peter Sarris (investor), John Efkarpidis (investor), Jessica Salvage (website), Ash Morgan (football tragic and marketing), Jerry Lissing (sports fan and strategy), Jessica Salvage (website) , Kylie Young, Kate Goatley, Omania Terry and Anna Slavich (admin support). I would also like to thank Zoo for their support with the website and the chief honcho Clinton Hutchison and Pawl Cubbin in particular. I would like to thank Canberra Stadium represented by Neale Guthrie in being so generous with their offer regarding games at their magnificent stadium and would like to thank both the Australian Institute of Sport and the University of Canberra for our very productive discussions regarding the use of their facilities to provide training for the team. We also had tremendous support from our media partners, namely Ken Nicolls from the Canberra Times, Nick & Julie Samaris from Canberra Weekly, Ian Miekle from City News, Eoghan O’Byrne from Canberra FM ( FM 104.7 & MIX 106.3), Leon Buchanan from WIN News and reporters Erin Molan and Greg Thomson, Tim Gavel from ABC Grandstand, Mark Parton from 2CC, SBS – the World Game, the Riotact, ABC news, 2XX, Roar – Sports opinion, fourfourtwo, Sydney Morning Herald, Herald Sun, sportbizinsider, the Age and a host of other local and national media. Thank you so much to the Capital punishment fan club! The trip to Sydney as coordinated by Anthony Hatton, Russ Gibbs and Eamonn Flanagan, was particularly memorable and screaming Canberra wants an A League team broadcast around the country was a lot of fun and received plenty of media attention. I would like to thank our elite football ambassadors, namely Ned Zelic, Carl Valeri ( and his father Walter who did some media for us), Amy Taylor, Caitlin Munoz, Lydia Williams, Amy Chapman and Sally Shipard. They helped promote our cause, helped gather foundation members and conducted various media interviews. Thank you also goes to the very many club ambassadors who helped us with our quest for a team and helped establish our foundation membership base. A full list of those ambassadors can be found on our website at It is a very substantial list so I urge you to take the time to have a look as I am sure you would recognise many names from your club. I would also like to thank specific clubs who provided support above and beyond the normal level of support, specifically Canberra FC who allowed us to use their club for a major foundation event for the bid, as well as financial support from Woden Valley Soccer and Canberra Olympic. I would also like to thank all the other football and soccer clubs for their support. I am sure that I have forgotten to mention someone, if I have overlooked you please forgive me, there have been so many people involved that it is hard to remember everyone. You know who you are so thank you sincerely. We were overlooked when the comp expanded from 8 to 12 a couple of years ago and those chosen have not fired up other than Melbourne Heart. Townsville is gone, Gold Coast is gone and West Sydney did not get up. The recent eviction of the Gold Coast created another opportunity and despite Ben Buckley the CEO of the FFA admitting to me that our bid was more advanced than West Sydney, the FFA have gone with West Sydney for strategic regions because of the larger population base, pouring in $4m of FFA money and supported by $8m of federal government money. For the record, I had tried previously to obtain a grant from the federal government given that we are the Nation’s capital, but was advised that they do not support individual teams, so the West Sydney deal is somewhat surprising, although I note the support is for football in general. The following is an extract of the terms of the trust deed. “The cost of the Foundation Membership is $200 (or such greater sum as the prospective members choose) which is fully refundable to the applicant (the Applicant) for the Foundation Membership, if the committee or board of the Beneficiary (the Board) in its sole discretion determines that the application to the Football Federation of Australia for an A-League football team for Canberra has been unsuccessful (whether it be for the 2010/2011 football competition or for a later year not later than 31 December 2012).” Full terms can be found at Given that the FFA has overlooked Canberra and in accordance with the terms of the trust deed, the trustees have determined to refund your money. It is my intention to run a couple of sessions at the Hellenic Club Woden on a Saturday between 10am and 1pm, whereby you will need to produce your certificate of membership and photo identification, either a licence or passport, where upon you will receive a cheque for your refund. I will provide further notice as to the exact days that we will be conducting these sessions and will endeavour to advertise on radio and in the press. Other arrangements will be made for people interstate or who cannot travel. You will have two options;- Receive a full refund of the money you deposited; or Elect to have the money you invested in our bid to further promote elite men’s football in the ACT. Please reply to this email stating that you agree to this if you elect this option. With regard to the second point, I have held a discussion with Heather Reid CEO of Capital Football, any surplus funds per point 2, together with interest earned in the trust, minus payment of any statutory liabilities, will be provided to Capital Football, to further elite men’s football in the ACT and surrounding region. Capital Football will consult with me subsequently to ensure that I am satisfied that it is being used for that purpose. Please do not respond to this email for a request of your funds now as we wish to conduct the process in an orderly manner, rest assured the money is in trust and will be refunded, we will advise when the sessions at the Hellenic Club Woden will be held over the coming month or so. There is some administration that we need to undertake such as obtaining cheque books. Please also note the following extract from the trust deed. “In the event that any Applicant(s) have deceased or cannot be contacted at the time of refund of any application fee (as the personal details provided by them have changed or lapsed), such fees will be donated to local soccer activates and community bodies in furtherance of soccer at the discretion of the Board.” Funds under this category will be provided per point 2 by 31/12/12. We will do our best to contact everyone, we have been working hard on the accuracy of the database. Once again, thank you to all who helped out, it has been an honour and privilege to have led the process and hopefully sometime in the future there will be an A League team for Canberra. Yours Sincerely, Ivan Slavich A League 4 Canberra Bid leader

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