Canberra’s A-League bid has reached its goal of 5,000 members a month ahead of schedule and the team is now planning to double that number before they hand their bid in at the end of the month.
The Canberra bid team will submit its final application to Football Federation Australia (FFA) on August 31 and aims to beat out expansion bids from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Ipswich and Wollongong to claim one of the two coveted spots in the A-league for the 2019-20 season.
The Canberra bid has to prove to FFA that it has enough community support for an A-league team and its financials and football operations are sustainable in the long-term. The expansion team has already signed a partnership with the Australian Sports Foundation to help drive private and philanthropic investment into the club.
Canberra’s expansion club now has more members than four of the 10 current A-league clubs, eclipsing the 816 Newcastle Jets members, 2,545 Mariners members, 3,232 members of Adelaide United, and Perth Glory’s membership numbers of 4,057. If Canberra reaches its 10,000 membership target, it would have the third most members behind the Western Sydney Wanderers (14,399) and Melbourne Victory (16,246).
Canberra’s bid organiser Michael Caggiano said he was shocked by how quickly the membership target was reached and believes it is a reflection of the outpouring of support the bid has received from the local community.
“We knew this was a region crying out for a professional men’s football team to support, but the speed at which this target has been surpassed has surprised even me,” Mr Caggiano said.
“It reflects the amazing reception this bid has received from local grassroots football fans.
“We now have more than 100 volunteers helping with the bid, around 120 people attended our community forum last week and I’ve lost count of the number of local businesses offering assistance.”
Mr Caggiano said the bid team had no plans of resting on their laurels now that the initial target had been reached.
“No way, we are picking up more momentum every day and the sky is the limit now,” he said.
“This will be Australia’s most community-orientated professional football club and I encourage every football fan across the region to sign up as a Foundation Member and get involved.
“If you are keen to help, we want to hear from you.”
Foundation member Kacey Lam said she signed up on the first day she heard about registrations.
“I love the A-League and have always had to travel great distances to attend matches, so the idea of having our own local team to be passionate about is really exciting,” she said.
“After I read about the inclusive community focus of this team, I didn’t hesitate to join as a foundation member.”
Caggiano said that the bid team had more significant announcements to come and said there is “no reason they can’t hit 10,000 members by the 31 August deadline.”