Matildas legend Heather Garriock has accused the ACT government of disrespecting women's soccer, slamming the decision to withdraw from Australia's 2023 FIFA World Cup bid.
As revealed by The Canberra Times, the government advised Football Federation Australia it will not participate in the proposal to host the international tournament due to a scheduling clash at Canberra Stadium.
The World Cup will be played over a five-week period in July and August of 2023, but playing venues will be unavailable to host other events during that time.
Having only one rectangular stadium has emerged as the biggest barrier to bringing the World Cup to the capital, with the Canberra Raiders and ACT Brumbies already sharing the venue during those months.
Garriock, who played 130 games for Australia during her career and now coaches Canberra United, was frustrated by the government's decision.
"Why wouldn't you support the 2023 World Cup bid? I can't be more disappointed," Garriock said.
"I read [the story] in the paper this morning at the coffee shop and I guess it shows disrespect in my opinion.
"I'm hugely disappointed in Canberra not support it for whatever the reason is. If it clashes with the Canberra Raiders and the Brumbies, that's even more disappointing because you can critique it.
"It would be amazing to have the World Cup in Australia and if something like that was a stopper for the capital not to support it would be hugely disappointing."
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It's understood Rugby Australia and the NRL have already spoken with the FFA about trying to avoid schedule clashes if Australia's bid is successful.
The Victorian government threw their support behind the FFA's proposal earlier this week, joining NSW, South Australia and Queensland.
Canberra Stadium hosted six matches during the Sydney Olympic Games, including the Matildas' opening match against Germany which had 24,800 fans in attendance.
"The fans of Canberra would absolutely love to have a World Cup here," Garriock said.
"I was part of the 2000 Olympic Games and I remember the crowd and how much support we had behind our women's football. It would be no different and hopefully it's not the case.
"Let's think positive and hope we get the 2023 World Cup. Some young players from Canberra will be part of [the tournament], especially with the pathways we've formed."
Some of Australia's best female footballers will be in the capital this week, with Canberra United set to clash with W-League heavyweights Melbourne City at McKellar Park on Sunday.
City boasts a strong contingent of international players including former Canberra defender Ellie Carpenter, Lydia Williams, Steph Catley, Emily van Egmond, Kyah Simon and Japanese midfielder Yukari Kinga.
The Melbourne outfit will also be bolstered by the return of star players Aivi Luik and Rebekah Stott, who have spent the W-League's off-season playing in Europe.
"Obviously playing a team like Melbourne City, they're the benchmark of the competition," Garriock said.
"They've got some great individual players but in saying that, we've built momentum from last week, critiqued a few things and we're ready for the game.
"We're just focusing on ourselves, that's the most important thing regardless of the quality they've got because they do have quality players. I think they can be exposed.
"They're playing at full strength which is even better for us because it means we really need to be at our best and see where we're at."
Karly Roestbakken, who is Canberra's only Matildas representative, has been cleared to play after suffering a broken nose in their 2-0 win over Perth Glory last week.
"She's trained all week and while it's been a bit painful she hasn't missed a beat," Garriock said.
Round 2: Canberra United v Melbourne City at McKellar Park, Sunday 4pm