Recently, the discussion around the merits of an A2 league has been gathering serious momentum.
The discussion has transformed me from a sceptic who believed an A2 league was years off, into a more conservative believer who now supports the idea.
The cost of such a competition and the small metrics in the market have been readily discussed on this website, but one other huge roadblock seems to never be properly discussed.
That is the change of season that must occur for either the A-League teams or the future A2 teams.
It is non-negotiable that both leagues are to run simultaneously. But which is to move?
In my opinion, the whole idea is that the A2 is designed to further bridge the gap between A-League clubs and the NPL, which will then lead to promotion and relegation. It is illogical that the A2 clubs would compete during the ‘summer of football’ as that would lead to a logistical gap between the A2 and the NPL.
Similarly, moving the NPL to summer would be absurd.
Summer football for the lower leagues would mean shifting thousands of teams from winter to summer. It would prove to be a logistical nightmare and one can only imagine the number of injuries that would occur on the harder grounds during the summer.
So the last, and in my opinion the best option, is to move the A-League to the winter.
Yes, at the start of the A-League there were numerous benefits to summer football. Most, if not all of them revolved around avoiding the other Australian codes for various reasons.
Yet, I feel it is time for the A-League to find its own way, and to be brave enough to stand its ground when the other codes come around.
The benefits of winter football are appealing.
Firstly, the simultaneous running of all football leagues would allow closer relations between the A-League and non-A-League teams, as well as player transfers, trials and reserves competitions for A-League teams.
Secondly, it would allow players to avoid the heat of the Australian summer. This would lead to softer and safer grounds and lower temperatures to play in, opening up the possibility of mid-afternoon games, and more energy from the players.
Thirdly, the A-League would run at the same time as the east Asian football leagues that we compete against in the ACL, allowing for improved relations.
If Australian football as a whole is to move forward and introduce an A2 league, we need to bridge the gap and schedule the A-League in winter.