For me Season 10 of the A-League has been fascinating. The quality of the football has been great, and the entire league (in the majority) just seems to keep improving year on year, which is fantastic.
But despite this season being a great one on the field, there’s been way too many distractions off it, most of them out of FFA’s control, like the scheduling of the Asian Cup, followed by the Cricket World Cup, coincidently both on home soil.
But for me, there’s been a few issues this season, which head office needs to analyse and sort out as soon as possible in readiness for next season. A few minor tweaks are needed here and there and we optimise the entire product.
The issues are:
– falling crowds post-Asian Cup
– ownership issues at the Newcastle Jets
– salary cap cheating at Perth Glory
– bad midweek scheduling of games
– potential stadium non-availability for A-League grand finals in Melbourne
– TV ratings approximately five per cent down on Fox Sports
I think for next season to go to yet another level, a series of both minor and major tweaks and changes need to be implemented by the FFA in the off-season, to help get rid of the noise that’s plagued some of this year. We need another smashing season and also ensure that nothing hold the code back.
Things like breaching the salary cap are hard to get rid of, the FFA just needs to make sure it’s doing frequent audits of all the clubs and making sure something like this doesn’t happen every second year. The cap is small, and clubs always stretch themselves.
In my opinion these are the things that I think should be sorted out as soon as possible:
– fix the ownership issue at the Newcastle Jets
– look to resolve the future of Wellington Phoenix in the A-League with the AFC and FIFA.
– resolve Wellington’s home ground in New Zealand, explore the Hutt Rec ground option permanently.
– get the scheduling spot on, get the fixtures consistent
– don’t play midweek games if they’re not needed
– don’t have a team playing away from home for more than two weeks in a row, as this breaks rhythm.
– get their dates right, pre-book all the venues for finals including the grand final
– start the season in late August or September, giving us a bumper three months to start the season off with a bang, and maintain that for longer into the year.
– keep all the big games, like derbies and the like until after the AFL grand final on October 3, 2016.
– play the FFA Cup final on a Saturday night in November or December, taking a break from the A-League for that weekend, putting full focus and exposure on the FFA Cup.
– the last round for the regular season is on Friday, March 25, 2016. Play all five games in last round simultaneously
– A-League finals series start on Friday, April 1, 2016, with the grand final on April 17
– change the marquee rules to two marquees per team, regardless of who they are where they come from, not restricted by the current one foreign and one local marquee system
I know there’s quite a few things in there, but the FFA need to start making at least of few of these changes in time for next season. Others are longer term, but should be acted on for the good of the game.
Editor’s note: The Central Coast Mariners have contacted The Roar about a small section of this article. We have removed the section so we get a full comment from the Mariners.