Snubbed again. Canberra's hopes of re-joining the national soccer competition are set to be shattered on Thursday, with reports the FFA has settled on expansion teams in Sydney and Melbourne.
But it's understood the capital's bid officials are still waiting for official word from the FFA, which could open the door for an olive branch to join the competition in the next round of expansion.
The Sydney Morning Herald says Macarthur-South West Sydney and Western Melbourne Group will be unveiled as the two successful bids at a press conference on Thursday.
Canberra was one of six contenders for two expansion licences, but the FFA appears reluctant to immediately return to the capital almost 20 years after the Canberra Cosmos went bust.
It's the second time in 10 years the FFA has turned its back on the city after deciding to start the Western Sydney Wanderers in 2008 instead of moving into Canberra.
The Western Melbourne Group will reportedly join the competition as early as next season, with the Macarthur-South West Sydney bid to follow for the 2020-21 campaign.
Canberra could still get an A-League licence if the FFA decides on future expansion, or if the Wellington Phoenix fail to meet metrics set to keep their place.
Canberra's bid team had secured ACT government funding, more than 8000 members, a stadium deal and was understood to have formed a partnership with sporting consortium overseas.
The Western Melbourne Group will have to build its own privately-owned stadium and will play in Geelong until that is complete.
There are now three teams in Sydney and three teams in Melbourne. Broadcaster Fox Sports had expressed its desire for extra teams in the major cities to create more derbies.
There is still scope for keeping Canberra's bid alive, with suggestion the A-League could plan for further expansion after Western Melbourne and Macarthur-South West Sydney have settled.
However, Canberra was in the same position a decade ago and ongoing delays led to former bid-leader Ivan Slavich to disband the proposal and refunding money to members four years later.