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July 14th, 2018 by admin

Football: Canberra lights up as FFA chief David Gallop flags A-League expansion

Western Sydney Wanderers midfielder Steven Lustica was a Canberra FC junior. Photo: Jay CronanWestern Sydney Wanderers player Steven Lustica has joined a chorus of Canberrans calling for a permanent A-League presence in Canberra.
Nanjing Night Net

The charge follows Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop’s revelation that he plans on expanding the A-League “sooner rather than later”.

Canberra-born Lustica left the nation’s capital in search of greener pastures with the region lacking a presence in football’s elite landscape since the demise of the Canberra Cosmos.

“I think it’s time Canberra start looking for an A-League team,” Lustica said.

“It’s such a shame that such a great footballing city hasn’t got an A-League team. It would be great to see a team in Canberra back at the top flight of Australian football.”

Canberra Olympic’s charge to the FFA Cup semi-finals has been heralded as a golden opportunity for football fans in the region to make a statement to the FFA.

Olympic will host Sydney FC at Viking Park on October 19, with a large crowd considered a necessity should Canberra want to be considered for an A-League licence.

“That’s another great advertisement for Canberra football that it does produce good players and teams who are always competing at good levels,” Lustica said.

“It’s another great sign that Canberra needs an A-League team.”

Ticket sales for Canberra Olympic’s FFA Cup blockbuster with Sydney FC have been well received by the public, with the club advising spectators to buy their tickets early to avoid disappointment.

But Ivan Slavich, who headed up the ill-fated A-League4Canberra bid, says it is unlikely Canberra will score a licence having “raised $5 million and that still wasn’t good enough” in his attempt to give the capital a presence in the league.

Slavich said Canberra’s best hope for top-flight football is the current partnership with the Central Coast, which will see the Mariners host two games at Canberra Stadium this season.

“What [the FFA] have actually said before is that they only really want to expand into populations that have more than a million people,” Slavich said.

“I think there is real scope for the Central Coast to increasingly become Canberra’s A-League side.”

Slavich believes the population barrier brought the Canberra bid undone, and expects expansion teams to be placed in Sydney and Melbourne – giving each city three clubs.

Likening the Mariners agreement to that of AFL’s Greater Western Sydney, Slavich said the Giants have been widely accepted as “Canberra’s team” and hopes Central Coast can do the same.

Slavich says the recent Capital Draft, where three local players and a coach were chosen to spend a week with the Mariners, is evidence of the elite pathway Canberra now has in place as a result of the deal.

While he won’t be heading up a bid for a new team to be established in Canberra, Slavich said there is scope to help deliver big games to the capital.

“I think if for example Central Coast got into the finals, I don’t think the stadium up there is of a sufficient capacity to play the finals there,” Slavich said.

“I know when I’ve had discussions previously down this path and I have talked to [Mariners CEO] Shaun Mielekamp, if Central Coast were to get into the finals then the final quite possibly would be at Canberra Stadium.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.