Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop might have miffed fans in Canberra after he closed the door on any future A-League franchise based in Canberra. Well, it seems A-League teams are only meant for “cities” and Gallop, who was part of the former National Soccer League club Canberra City, believed that an A-League Team wouldn’t work in the Nation’s capital.
The Roar quoted Gallop as saying, “Putting nostalgia aside, the fact is that Canberra City struggled against bigger clubs for 10 years before getting relegated to the local competition in 1987.”
“That’s nothing against the city, the coaches, the players or the passionate fans. It’s a product of simple economics and the size of the market. My football friends in Canberra are always very polite, but insistent about pushing for a bigger place on the national stage.”
“Talk of an A-League club is never far from the top of the list, but I think everyone understands FFA’s current position.”
According to the Guardian, Gallop stated that the recent crowd of 20,000 which attended the Socceroos’ World Cup qualifier in Canberra was very impressive and this was a “deliberate strategy” to taste new markets. Reports have suggested that FFA won’t be expanding its base in Canberra and only cities with more than a million population is best suited to host an A-League.
However, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, Capital Football and the ACT government described Gallop’s statements as very “disappointing” after the FFA chief executive shut down the door on Canberra’s A-League dream.
Sources suggest that though Canberra’s population was 379,200 in 2012, but is expected to grow to half a million by 2034.
When an A-League bid for Canberra was first raised back in 2008, it generated huge interest and support “But the $5 million in capital raised from a combination of government support, sponsorships and public donations was $1 million short of the $6 million target set out by the FFA,” quotes the Sydney Morning Herald.