Socceroos great Craig Moore has joined the Canberra-based bid team chasing an A-League licence for 2021-2022, signing up for the fledgling entity’s football department.
The former Australia skipper, who spent three years as Brisbane’s Roar’s director of football will work in tandem with the existing head of football Ron Smith to mastermind coaching, player development and elite pathways for the Capital Region Football Collective (CRFC).
Backed by wealthy local family interests and European-based investors, CRFC are in discussions with FFA over buying into the competition, even if that means buying and relocating the financially-stricken Central Mariners.
Undaunted by the current financial tsunami threatening to submerge the future viability of the competition, CRFC director Michael Caggiano has sold Moore, 44, on the vision of a long-awaited team in the ACT.
“There’s great potential in the Canberra region, and being involved for the foundation of a club will be quite an exciting adventure,” said Moore.
“There is probably a feeling amongst the local community that they are always missing out, I can see there’s a real hunger and desire to be successful.
“Canberra is renowned for producing top players, names like Ned Zelic, Tom Rogic, Josep Simunic and Carl Valeri (come to mind).
“Whilst at Brisbane Roar (between 2015-2018) I also recruited Kai Trewin who has already gone on to feature in the first team.
“It’s fair to say that we are all finding life a bit of a struggle at the moment with Australian football.
“It has had some really good times, but it is feeling a bit stale.
“Having the opportunity for a new club from a new region to come in, I think is something exciting that will enable a lot more interest in the game in general."
With TV rights holders Fox Sports to end their 15-year relationship with the A-League at the end of next season, and no obvious replacement in sight, Moore added: “In terms of broadcast rights and what that looks like moving forward, we need to offer something fresh and new to be able to get that interest in the game again.”
Moore jets to the UK this month, where he has a network of contacts amassed during his playing days with Rangers, Crystal Palace and Newcastle United, with a view to exploring opportunities for the project.
Capital Region FC co-director Bede Gahan said Moore’s appointment adds credence to CRFC’s ambitions.
“Craig is very highly regarded by Ron Smith so we are delighted to have someone of his experience and expertise on board,” Gahan said.
“I think this shows that we mean business, and we are continuing to build a world-class team of people to make sure that this club can be successful from day one.”
The ACT bid came close to landing a licence in the last round of expansion and is believed to have $5 million at its disposal to propel its bid to become the A-League’s 13th team.
It also has the backing of the ACT government with an in-principle agreement to provide up to 1.5 million in annual funding through cash and payroll tax exemptions.