Canberra’s A-League entry on hold

A-Leagues Unite Round Media Opportunity
A-League commissioner Nick Garcia has announced that Canberra’s entry into the national men’s football competition has been put on hold. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images for APL

The A-League men’s competition will include a weekly bye next season following confirmation that expansion won’t include a team for Canberra.

The Australian Professional Leagues announced in March last year that clubs from Canberra and Auckland would form part of an expanded 14-team A-League for the 2024-25 season and beyond.

However, while Auckland FC will join the competition as planned, a Canberra team won’t, meaning the A-League will consist of 13 clubs next season.

“We are still in discussion with a preferred consortium for an A-League licence in Canberra, but they aren’t able to stand up a team in time for season 2024-25,” A-League commissioner Nick Garcia said.

“The ACT has a fantastic football fanbase, and we remain committed to Canberra and a 14th A-League team.

“We want to give new owners the proper runway to set up a team to ensure long-term success.

“The preferred consortium has the right capability – a mix of European top-flight experience, and local Canberra knowledge and relationships – and we continue to work with them.”

A-Leagues 2023/24 Season Launch
A-League boss Nick Garcia remains ‘committed’ to a Canberra club joining the competition, but not next season. Picture: Jason McCawley/Getty Images

Current women’s A-League club Canberra United will be continue to be controlled and overseen by Capital Football.

Meanwhile, defender Tate Russell has parted ways with Western Sydney Wanderers to “pursue other opportunities”.

Russell, 24, made 91 appearances in all competitions in five seasons with the Wanderers.

“It has been such a dream come true for me and I treasure every moment I’ve ever played in the red and black,” Russell said.

Elsewhere, women’s A-League championship-winning coach Ante Juric has signed a new two-year contract with Sydney FC.

“I am humbled to be offered a contract extension as I have thoroughly enjoyed coaching and working for the club,” Juric said.

“Our enthusiasm and passion has got stronger, and I am excited at the thought of what we can continue to achieve and build on this dynasty of success we are enjoying.”