The snubbed Canberra A-League bid has called on its 8000 members to turn up and demand answers when Football Federation Australia come to town to host a fan forum on May 8.
Canberra fans were burned for the second time in a decade when the FFA opted to expand in December by adding third teams in Sydney and Melbourne instead of a new franchise in the capital.
The salt in the wound moment came when The Canberra Times revealed an FFA document said the governing body would miss out on $5 million in broadcast money if they picked Canberra's proposal. A-League boss Greg O'Rourke slammed suggestions Canberra's expansion chances were sold for a cash grab.
The FFA will go on an Australia-wide tour in the coming months to try to connect with disgruntled fans following a shambolic 12 months from the governing body.
Canberra is the final stop on the nine-city roadshow and FFA has opened an expression of interest for the fan forum, with registrations accepted until venue capacity is reached.
The FFA has left expansion off the meetings' agendas and say they'll hold a separate Melbourne forum for that discussion, but it is understood Canberra fans are signing up in huge numbers to demand answers.
The Canberra bid team has emailed their members promoting the opportunity to ask "any questions you may have to the FFA" in what is shaping as a fiery showdown.
Canberra bid leader Michael Caggiano is still working on bringing an A-League team to the capital and urged members to turn up and send a clear message to the FFA.
"This is an opportunity for all football lovers from the capital region to come listen to the FFA’s strategic plans for the game in our region, and to put forward their own ideas and be heard," Caggiano said.
"When pulling together the bid we travelled thousands of kilometres and met hundreds upon hundreds of people with a deep passion for the game, and a wanting to be engaged and part of the sport on another level. I say this is your chance to be involved so vote with your voices and vote with your feet.
"On the registration form you’ll notice there’s a free form field to add additional topics, and I’m sure the community will take the opportunity to add discussion around the region’s access to professional football to the agenda.
“I’ve noted the FFA’s commitment to a standalone session around new leagues and expansion set down for a later date in Melbourne, but I’m sure given the chairman’s comments when announcing the expansion teams in December – 'We do, however, continue to view Canberra as an attractive opportunity for potential future expansion' that it will be fair-and-square up for discussion here when they come to Canberra.”
The FFA was involved in an ugly and drawn-out spat with FIFA, which eventually led to a new board being appointed. Their first significant decision was expansion and then the next, sacking Alen Stajcic as Matildas coach, was marred in controversy following its sloppy handling last month.
The new FFA board says it wants help from the soccer community to "shape the future of the game in Australia" and develop a four-year strategic plan.
FFA chairman Chris Nikou said the new board has committed to "extensive consultation" with the soccer community and emphasised he wants their feedback.
"We want to hear from as many members of the football community as possible over the next few months about the issues that are most important to them, so we can continue to improve our game," Nikou said.
"We will use the feedback from our stakeholders during these forums to help guide the development of the next four-year strategic plan.
“We want our players, our clubs and our fans to have the opportunity to help shape the future of our game."