Canberra's NPL teams to boycott Canberra United Academy games

Canberra National Premier League clubs are sick of being "given lip service" and will boycott playing Canberra United Academy teams until Capital Football action a deal they believe was struck in December.

That boycott will include home-and-away games for premiership points if no action is taken.

Canberra's NPL clubs say Capital Football chairman Mark O'Neill hasn't delivered on promises he's made.
Canberra's NPL clubs say Capital Football chairman Mark O'Neill hasn't delivered on promises he's made. Photo: Graham Tidy

The eight club presidents sent a letter to the Capital Football board, dated January 29, outlining concerns one agreement reached at a meeting on December 14 had been "reneged on" and another hadn't been actioned.

The first was there would be no CUA launch, which was then held later that day regardless, and secondly Capital Football would take steps to amend the constitution so the eight NPL presidents would become voting members of Capital Football.

Capital Football has rebranded their high-performance program as the CUA and they will play in the Canberra NPL senior league for the first time this year.

Tuggeranong United had agreed to play pre-season friendlies against CUA this Sunday, but Tuggies president Jon Thiele said those games wouldn't go ahead.


Thiele said the clubs were sick of the "total disregard" Capital Football showed them.

"We have an issue with these teams playing in the regular home-and-away season and there have been certain things said to us by the chair of Capital Football, Mark O'Neill, that haven't occurred," he told Fairfax Media on Wednesday.

"We are sick and tired of being given lip service by, in particular, the chair and the Capital Football board.

"We asked for and were promised a seat at the table for each of the NPL club presidents, uncategorically, that's what we were told that's what would happen.

"We understand there is a way to go about this, when you change the constitution, but to date we've seen no action."

Thiele said all the club presidents were united in the stance, although he admitted some coaches and technical directors at clubs might disagree.

"There's no denying there's some technical directors ... they do have a difference of opinion," Thiele said.

"My technical director, Steve Kunovec, doesn't necessarily agree that this is the right course of action, however, he supports the club and supports the club direction."

Capital Football chief executive Heather Reid said clubs could withdraw from friendlies if they wanted to, but they could face sanctions if they refused to play scheduled fixtures in the season proper.

She said O'Neill has been on holidays and would respond to the clubs' letter when he returned on Thursday or Friday.

Reid said clubs hadn't had voting rights on the board for "10 years" and she questioned why only the NPL clubs should be given a vote and not all 46 clubs.

She said if the clubs wanted voting rights they would need to propose amendments to the constitution, with the support of the FFA, and then get those amendments passed.

The Capital Football board will meet next on February 22.

"Mark has received a letter from the premier league clubs, I understand, outlining some of their claims and the board is currently considering their response and if they choose not to play friendly games against the academy then I guess that's their choice," Reid said.

"But the academy teams are in the draw for the premier league and if they don't turn up to fulfil their requirements as part of being in the premier league then that's another matter that the board and the disciplinary panel will look at."