Renewed A-League bid likely for Queanbeyan and Canberra

Former Queanbeyan deputy mayor Steve Taskovski has an eye towards the future and is ready to campaign for the addition of an A-League team to represent the greater region. Photo: Gemma Varcoe.
Former Queanbeyan deputy mayor Steve Taskovski has an eye towards the future and is ready to campaign for the addition of an A-League team to represent the greater region. Photo: Gemma Varcoe.

There has been renewed calls for the region's very own A-League team with former deputy mayor of Queanbeyan Steve Taskovski backing the latest bid.

He said such a team would change the lives of talented players in Queanbeyan and surrounds.

"They aspire to play for the A-League team in their area, and at the moment they have to go to Sydney, to Melbourne," Taskovski said.

"All of our players are playing around the country with other region's clubs."

Taskovski has called on the whole region to be involved, and to build on the historical sporting links already strong between neighbouring Canberra, Queanbeyan, Goulburn, Cooma, the South Coast and the Riverina.

"The talented players in these cities, we can monitor them, and we can get the coaches to monitor them," he said.

"If they're good we can bring them to an academy and raise them to become one of the nation's top players."

There have been previous attempts at bringing a top tier footballing squad and associated development academy to the nation's capital. Between 2008 and 2012 a mammoth community effort combined with the bipartisan support of the ACT government made a move in securing a license amongst an expanded A-League.

However, the funding fell $1 million short of the minimum $6 million required by Football Federation Australia and plans were disbanded.

Instead, both the now-defunct Gold Coast United and Northern Queensland Fury became part of the new ten-team venture.

Due to financial woe, Northern Queensland made an exit from the competition in 2011 while the Gold Coast bowed out in 2012 after a string of controversies involving its owner Clive Palmer resulted in a revoked license.

Queanbeyan and Canberra again lost out to the development of another Sydney based squad in 2012, and to this day remains the only national capital city in the world without representation of a football club within the country's top-flight division - a fact that Taskovski said was "pathetic" for the region.

"What we need now is to form as a group, to refurbish Seiffert Oval, and to make it playable for these sorts of games," Taskovski said.

"The Raiders started at Seiffert and look at them now, they're still in the league, they're still competitive and every region needs a team where it can produce talented players," he said.

"Otherwise they have got nowhere to go.

"If they were in the A-League, the cream of the top premier league clubs in the area, they could go to the top team here and this way we are not losing our players."

Monaro Panthers vice president Richard Vanderpol said he would love to see an A-League team brought to the area, and suggested calling the squad Capital Coast FC, rather than Canberra United, in order to encompass the region in its entirety.

However FFA chief executive David Gallop has all but ruled out the possibility of a top tier team for the Canberra region and Vanderpol doubts a change of mind will occur anytime soon.

"My understanding is that the FFA CEO has said that the Canberra region will not have an A-League team and I can't see Capital Football putting a bid in," he said.

"He [Gallop] killed the passion for football in Canberra with that statement, shut the door on so many volunteers and disappointed a lot of people."

This story Renewed A-League bid likely for region first appeared on The Queanbeyan Age.