A-League deal for Phoenix in Canberra falls over

The A-League's high price tag is set to see Canberra miss out on the chance to host professional soccer this season after a deal with the Wellington Phoenix fell over.

It's understood the Phoenix was in negotiations to shift a home game to the capital to play against the Western Sydney Wanderers at Canberra Stadium in January.

However, the Phoenix and ACT government could not reach an agreement and the game is set to be scrapped from the A-League schedule.

News of the failed Phoenix bid comes as the government edges closer to finalising details for a Big Bash League cricket clash at Manuka Oval next year.

The government and Cricket Australia have all but agreed to have the Sydney Thunder play against the Melbourne Renegades in Canberra on January 24.

The timing of the Big Bash game would have aligned perfectly with a bumper summer of sport had the Phoenix managed to strike a deal.

A government spokesperson said officials would continue to search for professional soccer content for fans after the Central Coast Mariners opted not to return to the capital this year.

The Phoenix has been mooted as the perfect partner for Canberra given the capital links and direct international flights between the cities.

There have also been talks about Canberra United's women's team joining forces with the Phoenix to give New Zealand female players a pathway to the W-League.

Canberra will take a step towards having its own A-League team when it joins the National Youth League this year.

There is also a renewed A-League bid for a Canberra licence, but the competition will not expand until the end of 2019.

Meanwhile, Canberra United, the Canberra Capitals and the ACT Meteors will join forces this week to launch their respective women's seasons.

The Capitals and Meteors will go head to head in the first week of the season when both teams play on Friday night and Sunday afternoon.

The Capitals are set to unveil a new skipper this week, with veteran guard Nat Hurst tipped as one of the front-runners to to take the reins for the WNBL season.

The Capitals will start their campaign against the Bendigo Spirit at the National Convention Centre on Friday night before backing up against the Adelaide Lightning on Sunday.

The Meteors are waiting for their South African recruits, Dan van Niekerk and Marizanne Kapp, to join the squad after Visa problems delayed their arrival in Canberra.

The Meteors will play against Victoria in a day-night contest at Manuka Oval on Friday and then clash against Queensland on Sunday to start the WNCL season.

???New Canberra United coach Heather Garriock is yet to finalise her squad, with the W-League season to start on October 28.


Friday: Canberra Capitals v Bendigo Spirit at National Convention Centre, 7.30pm.

Sunday: Canberra Capitals Adelaide Lightning at National Convention Centre, 3pm.


Friday: ACT Meteors v Victoria Spirit at Manuka Oval, 2.30pm.

Sunday: ACT Meteors v Queensland Fire at Manuka Oval, 10am.

This story A-League deal for Phoenix in Canberra falls over first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.