There has been almost complete radio silence for several months around Canberra’s A-League bid.
For the past fortnight I have attempted to determine if the bid remains alive or whether it is on life support.
The bid team, led by Michael Caggiano, has remained tight-lipped about the status of the latest bid.
Given Canberra’s history regarding the A-League, many could be forgiven for thinking silence equates to the bid being dead and buried.
But there is evidence there’s cause for significant optimism among the proponents. A company search of ASIC reveals Canberra and Capital Region A-League Pty Limited remains a registered business. There is also the recent development in the structure of the A-Leagues (both men and women) with the Australian Professional Leagues taking control of the competitions.
There are 12 A-League Men’s clubs for next season, while there are 10 teams in the A-League Women.
Nine of the women’s teams have an affiliation with an A-League Men’s side. The tenth team making up the A-League Women competition is Canberra.
In the lead up to the 2023 Women’s World Cup, the plan is to increase the number of A-League Women’s clubs to 12 with the Central Coast Mariners and Western United coming into the A-League alongside their affiliated A-League Men.
Following the 2023 World Cup, Macarthur FC will come into the A-League Women competition.
This would bring the number of women’s teams to 13, with Canberra the sole club fielding only an A-League Women’s side.
With 12 teams in the A-League Men competition, when run in tandem with the A-League Women, there is an obvious gap, which Canberra is more than prepared to fill.
Another factor that may come into Canberra’s favour is the new points system with a Club Championship trophy to be awarded to the top combined A-League Men and A-League Women club.
While there has been little said publicly, this development would make it attractive to the Australian Professional Leagues to have Canberra in the A-League Men competition alongside Canberra United in the A-League Women.
In Canberra, we have been accustomed to clutching at straws when it comes to a potential A-League Men’s team, but optimism alone won’t get the bid across the line.
There needs to be a sound business model ensuring the Club will be sustainable beyond the initial enthusiasm and the obvious proven support needed for a team in Canberra.
At this stage, the bid still has a pulse.