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Why has FFA Cup suddenly been put on the agenda?

Roar Guru
13th October, 2010
71
2725 Reads

It was the news pretty much every Australian football fan had been waiting to hear. FFA chairman Frank Lowy revealed yesterday he was hoping to establish a long-awaited cup competition for next year.

Lowy said the FFA were seeking a major sponsor for the competition, which would probably begin before the revised start of the A-League season and run until midway through the top flight campaign.

Australian football fans have been floating their proposals for a knockout-style cup competition for years, based on the English FA Cup format, so this announcement is music to their ears.

Lowy said the cup details are still being resolved, but it appears state league clubs would be involved, meaning it is the first time the FFA have actively sought to unite the A-League and the former NSL clubs. That’s great. And so is the prospect of the romantic knockout cup.

So the FFA’s stated commitment towards a cup competition is definitely an exciting prospect, but why now?

Since the creation of the A-League, the FFA have flirted with the idea of a cup competition but never committed to it. Now, they are publicly making it known they are after a sponsor to make it work.

It will be difficult to run both financially and logistically so the revelation comes at an interesting time given the A-League’s current stability issues and the FFA’s reported financial troubles.

But then again, the idea has plenty of novelty value. And reviving some novelty into Australian club football could be just what the local game needs at this point in time.

And getting a big sponsor on board and selling the TV rights could make it a money-spinner for the FFA too. Maybe. Maybe not, it could be a gamble.

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Also it was interesting to note following yesterday’s press conference most media outlets ran the story about an ‘FFA Cup’ but what was slightly overlooked was Lowy raising the prospect of a deferred start to the A-League season next campaign.

In my opinion, the A-League should start in October after the major winter codes finish.

The publicity and media attention given to the Melbourne derby last week following the conclusion of the AFL and NRL seasons the weekend before certainly reinforces that argument, especially given the subdued start to this A-League term.

The argument against that is why should football let other codes dictate when the A-League season starts, but the code has got to be realistic about this and acknowledge Australia is a unique situation. Yes, it isn’t in sync with European leagues but then again you could argue the A-League’s March conclusion isn’t either, so why not defer the start and delay the finish.

Anyway, more to the point, reading between the lines from Lowy’s comments yesterday he may see a cup competition as something which could help fill the gap.

Perhaps not the sizeable gap which could be August to October, but the first few playoffs and rounds would give the devoted football public something in the meantime, as well as keeping the players active.

The FFA also floated the idea of reducing the A-League regular season which caught me by surprise and at a loss to explain why!

Returning to the point, though, why an ‘FFA Cup’ has suddenly been put on the agenda is an interesting question to ponder, especially at this point in time given the current climate of the A-League, but whatever the reason I’m sure devoted football fans won’t mind.

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There does appear to be an appetite for such a competition and it would be great for the FFA to link up old and new football.

Then, of course, there’s opportunities opening up for state league players to impress on the big stage, as well as fringe A-League players.

The question, though, is can the FFA find their sponsor to make it work.

And then, of course, is the public’s thirst for an “FFA Cup” going to turn into bums on seats. We’ll wait and see.