Two Cairns groups bid for APL soccer place
AN Australian Premier League team called Cairns United FC would be based out of Trinity Beach under a proposal by Marlin Coast Football Club being considered by Football Queensland.
With applications for the new national second-tier club closing on Friday, Rangers president Peter Doutre yesterday outlined his vision for an "inclusive" and "united" club to represent the region.
State League licence holders FNQ Bulls are also applying, teaming up with the Centre of Excellence and other "key stakeholders" to form Far North Queensland Football Club.
Football Queensland will spend next week meeting officials from each bid before the September 26 announcement of the state’s 12 successful applicants.
FNQ FC officials chose to not discuss the bid publicly because they believed doing so would compromise its chances. But a person with knowledge of the situation did confirm the team intended to split their home games between Cairns and Mareeba.
The club also released a statement and although short on details it highlighted the credentials of the FNQ Bulls and the COE and FNQ FC’s strong ties in sport, business and government.
Doutre was more detailed about his team’s vision.
The key points he raised were:
The club would operate parallel with Marlin Coast FC, providing teams for the APL and the FNQ Football competitions.
The junior development system would run in lines similar to the existing COE system, with Cairns United representative teams playing up one age group in the local competition.
Marlin Coast’s headquarters at Trinity Beach would be the new club’s base, with Cairns United playing on alternate weekends to the Rangers’ senior sides.
Marlin Coast FC would control the business side of the club but a committee comprising two senior Marlin Coast officials, the FNQ Football GM and five representatives from other FNQ Football clubs would run football operations.
Many details are undefined, but Doutre said the most important thing was creating a culture for the APL team to be successful.
That means getting all the teams on board and working together for a single purpose, something that has proved difficult in the past.
To help build that culture Cairns United’s football operations would run with the input from other clubs, Doutre said.
"You can’t take from Peter to feed Paul. You can’t weaken the competition to strengthen one team, it has to be for the good of football in the region as a whole," Doutre said.
An FNQ FC representative also confirmed its club would have "a process for community club representation" on the board to give the other clubs an active role in operations.
Both groups believe the APL bid is vital to football’s development in Cairns and both are equally confident in their ability to deliver.
While the region’s success in junior football and the Bulls’ stellar record in the soon-to-be-defunct Queensland State League should inspire confidence, Football Queensland received 35 expressions of interest for the 12-team competition.
Some of those expressions of interest may amount to nothing.
Southern Cross Strikers and FNQ Football registered expressions of interest but only as a precaution, in case no other entity from the Far North bothered.
When serious contenders emerged, the pair decided to not follow through with a bid.
The FNQ Football zone has remained active in the process, attempting in vain to convince the Marlin Coast FC and FNQFC to merge into one bid.
"Obviously, that would be the ideal situation, but the zone is going to support any bid that is successful," general manager Duncan Sims said.
Initially, many clubs thought an APL system would be too costly, but now both Marlin Coast FC and FNQ FC are confident they can afford it.
"We have been very conservative with our estimations and we believe that this is possible," Doutre said.
FNQ FC claimed in a press release to have "strong support from across the Far North’s sporting, education, community, corporate and local government sectors".
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Kicking goals: Two Cairns soccer franchises are competing for a spot in the 12-team Australian Premier League.