Canberra has the X-factor: Gallop
Positive about Canberra ... David Gallop. Photo: Getty Images
CANBERRA'S inclusion in the A-League would give the competition an ''X-factor'', but expansion isn't on the cards any time soon, Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop says.
The former boss of the NRL also wants to use the example of the Canberra Raiders to ensure the ACT can be a financially viable option in the men's national soccer competition.
Canberra's hat was thrown in the ring early last year before Western Sydney got the nod, with the Wanderers defying all expectations on and off the field in a sensational debut season.
Canberra was previously in the running when North Queensland and Gold Coast United were admitted into the competition.
Having seen both expansion teams fail in recent years, Gallop said the FFA was determined to ensure the long-term viability of the A-League before it spread its wings any further.
''The A-League is unashamedly in a period of consolidation, so future expansion is not on the short-term agenda,'' Gallop said.
''Having said that, having a team from Canberra in a national competition has an X-factor to it that I'm well aware of from my role with rugby league. There's no doubt when the A-League does expand Canberra would be a very firm consideration.''
Gallop spent a decade in charge of the NRL before the Canberra-bred administrator joined the FFA last August.
He admitted the extremely competitive Canberra sporting market added an extra challenge for a possible A-League team.
The Raiders and Super Rugby's ACT Brumbies have been joined by part-time tenants Greater Western Sydney Giants, who play four AFL games a year at Manuka Oval.
''Canberra's got some unique factors that lend support to having a team in the national competition,'' Gallop said.
''One of the keys would be that you don't do it unless you're claiming to do it in a fully integrated way, so I don't support any expansion or hybrid models, where just some games are played.
''You need your team to be living and training and being a part of the community.
''Certainly the Raiders have been a great part of the fabric of Canberra because of that.''
Gallop was involved in the discussions to bring a rugby league Test to Canberra as part of centenary celebrations and is hopeful of the Socceroos playing an international fixture at Canberra Stadium in the second half of this year, depending on assistance from the ACT government.
He pointed to the recently completed futsal national titles at the AIS and the upcoming national junior championships in April as major events staged in Canberra.
There's also the 2015 Asian Cup with the ACT to host up to six games, including a quarter-final.
''Any time there's a game, whether it's an A-League or Asian Cup game, those are opportunities for people to vote with their feet and demonstrate there's a demand for elite football in territories like Canberra,'' Gallop said.