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Canberra to host Mariners A-League game

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 29/04/2016

Central Coast hope to bring more A-League games to the ACT after confirming they will play Wellington next season in Canberra.

The Mariners announced on Friday it had struck a deal with the ACT government to host a match during the 2016-17 campaign at GIO Stadium.

It will be the first regular-season A-League match in the nation's capital since 2009, when the club played Adelaide United and Perth.

The game coincides with the introduction of a direct flight between Wellington and Canberra from September, serviced by Singapore Airlines.

Phoenix general manager David Dome said the club would work with Wellington City Council to make "a bit of an event" around the game.

Mariners chief executive Shaun Mielekamp hoped it was the start of a long-term partnership with Canberra.

"I am confident that this will not be a one-off occasion and we have every intention to make this match such a great success, confirming the fixture for many seasons to come," he said.

Football Federation Australia boss David Gallop last year effectively ruled out the addition of an A-League team in Canberra because of its small population.

But chairman of Capital Football Mark O'Neill said strong support for the match between the Mariners and Phoenix would show an appetite for the game in the ACT.

"This match presents a significant opportunity for Capital Football to develop relationships and continue to grow our future prospects of bringing the A-League to Canberra on a regular basis," he said.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said he, too, would like to see more A-League fixtures in Canberra in coming years.

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