Capital Idea: A-League ditches NZ for Canberra

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Football Federation Australia has dramatically moved to conform with the AFC’s instruction to consolidate the Hyundai A-League into a solely Australian competition by announcing the Wellington Phoenix will be moved to Canberra.

Credit: Canberra Phoenix

The team, to be named Canberra Phoenix, will retain its colours and branding but will base itself from the nation’s capital from October 2013.

It is no secret that the Asian Football Confederation was pressuring the FFA into making this decision, along with fast-tracking promotion/relegation within the A-League. As a result, the AFC will reassign Australia with 2.5 spots in the Asian Champions League from 2014.

On hand this morning on the grounds of Parliament House to announce the relocation of the Phoenix was Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who confirmed a sizable investment from the federal government.

“Football is Australia’s fastest growing participation sport in the ACT and this new A-League team will promote the game even moreso” said Gillard.

“Under a Labor government football in Australia is thriving, and this investment in the game is a further example of our commitment to sport and to the community”.

The idea to base the Phoenix in Canberra is not a new one. It was first flighted in 2008 when Wellington Phoenix approached Capital Football to field a National Youth League squad on their behalf.

Wellington based Phoenix fans will be devastated by the shock news, however the outcomes are not all negative. Co-owner Gareth Morgan has committed to playing two regular season fixtures across the ditch.

“At least two games will be played in Wellington, with a third somewhere else in New Zealand. We will not forget our loyal fans” said Morgan.

An official cheque handover  – surplus funding from the previous Canberra A-League bid now designated for senior football and youth development – will take place at Hawker Football Centre on Wednesday.

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Matt Greenlaw
Editor of The Football Sack for three years, Matthew now spends his time sipping merlot whilst watching the reruns of Thursday FC.

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