Cairns could pick up ball if Fury flops
SOCCER officials will consider trying to lure A-League franchise the North Queensland Fury to Cairns, but only if all else fails to keep the side in Townsville.
While Far Northern soccer administrators say there are hurdles to any move, they are not insurmountable.
But they have stressed their first concern is to ensure the Fury remains a going concern in Townsville.
Soccer, community and business leaders say they would love to base the A-League soccer team in the Far North.
FNQ Football manager Chris Collins said while there would be difficulties moving the Fury to Cairns it was "quite achievable".
He said the biggest stumbling block was a suitable stadium to hold 10,000 spectators, with both Barlow Park and Cazalys not well-suited for soccer matches.
"We’d also need corporate and business sponsorship of at least $3 million and we’d need a supporters base of 5000-7000.
He said he believed there were more than enough supporters with 1000 fans regularly travelling to Townsville for Fury games.
"We have more support than the Taipans (basketball) team, for example," Mr Collins said.
He said he believed the soccer fraternity would be able to attract sponsorship from mining companies.
"But our first priority is to support the Fury where it is, in Townsville."
FNQ Football coaching director Martin Docherty said if the Townsville community ownership model did not work then Cairns should make a bid for Fury.
"But I think Townsville will get behind the Fury and it will stay there," he said.
"I would love it to happen here but I’m being realistic. It would take at least three years for it to happen here and we just don’t have the facilities."
Cairns deputy mayor Margaret Cochrane, who has a long-standing involvement in soccer, said she and the council had held talks with ex-Fury chairman Don Matheson.
She said the lack of a suitable venue financial backing in the current economic climate was a problem.
"I’d never say never," Cr Cochrane said.
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Game on: With the future of the North Queensland Fury in doubt, Cairns soccer officials believe the A-League franchise could make a home in the Far North. Picture: EVAN MORGAN
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