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Expanding the A-League to 20 teams via a probation league

Wayne Roar Guru

By Wayne, Wayne is a Roar Guru


15 Have your say

    The A-League will expand the number of teams in the competition eventually. But instead of just inserting a new team, perhaps they can take a slow and steady approach, building the support before sending them to the big lights.

    I am approaching this article with the idea of ten teams entering the A-League in the 2021-22 season.

    Starting in 2018-19, a new competition will be created with the ten new teams, from Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Wollongong, Geelong, Townsville, two from Tasmania, and two more from the NPL (either from Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane).

    From 2018-19 through to the end of 2020-21, they will play in parallel to the A-League, with no cross contamination. This is to prove that the clubs are financially viable and have sound business practices and management without requiring marquee matches with the A-League teams. Essentially, it’s a probation period.

    Switching back to the choices of teams, the Perth and Adelaide teams strengthen football’s foothold in Western and South Australia, without trying to get too fancy by putting the extras in regional areas.

    Canberra, Townsville and Geelong are essentially regional centres that can support a team from the grassroots up. Wollongong probably should already have a team, and two more from the NPL have pre-existing support.

    Tasmania getting two new teams is a bit of a stretch, even by the fantasy article standards, but AFL continues to squander the Apple Isle, NRL and rugby have no presence at all, and cricket is hit and miss. Fruit for the picking if it can do it well.

    After the 2020-21 season finishes, the teams in this league would then transition to the A-League and this competition would be dissolved.

    Looking at the negatives, sponsorship will be difficult to establish in a new competition full of unknowns, likely without a broadcast deal. The initial start up costs would be large, with no guarantee of success. Plus it is still an Australia-wide competition, which means hefty travel expenses.

    The other issue is stadiums, especially given that this competition would be run at the same time as the A-League without leveraging that competition. A thousand people at Suncorp or Allianz is a fast way to burn money.

    The teams would need to play out of their regional stadiums, accepting that crowd numbers will have hard caps and be more intimate. This can also be seen as a positive, as it creates a sense of community.

    The main thought behind this idea was how to decide which teams should go into the league, are they finically viable, and is there the community support?

    How would you approach expansion?

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    The Crowd Says (15)

    • April 14th 2017 @ 3:20am
      Matt Jones said | April 14th 2017 @ 3:20am | ! Report

      How would you approach expansion?

      Answer – not like this

      • April 14th 2017 @ 7:49am
        Waz said | April 14th 2017 @ 7:49am | ! Report


      • April 14th 2017 @ 10:12am
        Bugaluggs said | April 14th 2017 @ 10:12am | ! Report

        After seeing what is going on over at the ARU with teams collapsing. Soccer needs to tread wearily.

        Get more money in from tv first, then look at going to 12 clubs.

    • April 14th 2017 @ 5:00am
      League table speaks said | April 14th 2017 @ 5:00am | ! Report

      Answer: open promotion and relegation with the NPL national playoffs.

      This is Football….some administrator types really need to find another sport if they dont like The Game as it is….

      • April 14th 2017 @ 11:50pm
        jeff dustby said | April 14th 2017 @ 11:50pm | ! Report

        sure, you realise many sports use the same model?

    • April 14th 2017 @ 7:54am
      Waz said | April 14th 2017 @ 7:54am | ! Report

      1. HAL to 12 teams now
      2. Dispense with Nix (transfer licence to Canberra)
      3. Create National Division 2
      4. Expand HAL to 13 via promotion only (no relegation)
      5. Establish national Division 3
      6. Expand HAL to 16 with 3 team promotion
      7. Full p/r between all layers
      8. Figure out a HAL of 16 or 18

      This guys pretty much got it right:

      • April 14th 2017 @ 8:33am
        RBBAnonymous said | April 14th 2017 @ 8:33am | ! Report

        We pretty much agree Waz. I posted before I even saw your comments.

      • April 14th 2017 @ 11:51pm
        jeff dustby said | April 14th 2017 @ 11:51pm | ! Report

        make Waz presidemt

    • April 14th 2017 @ 8:15am
      RBBAnonymous said | April 14th 2017 @ 8:15am | ! Report

      Considering we are not going to have expansion in the A-league for the next 6 years we have an opportunity to work on a 2nd tier. You ask for new clubs and existing clubs to put forward submissions for inclusion into a National 2nd tier. Pick the best 12-14 teams and get it up and running about the time the existing TV deal is going to expire, but start planning for it now.

      What you then do as has been suggested before is after the 2nd tier season has been completed you promote 2 clubs to the A-league based on merit, no relegation from A-league and you promote 2 teams to the 2nd tier as well. You keep doing this until you get the number of teams you want in the A-league. My magic number is 16 teams. After that you have full pro/relegation.

      • April 14th 2017 @ 9:03am
        Waz said | April 14th 2017 @ 9:03am | ! Report

        There’ll be a new team in (south) Sydney in 2018/19 and a new team in Brisbane at the same time. Fox are driving that agenda and it will be happening.

      • April 14th 2017 @ 9:22am
        Gurudoright said | April 14th 2017 @ 9:22am | ! Report

        I agree RBB. The number needed in the A-League and the process. The only problem is that the A-League clubs have a licence until 2034 and can’t be dropped (except the Phoenix I think).
        The FFA have 6 years to get up an interim (sorry I could think of a better word from the top of my head) league up and have teams ready for the next broadcast deal.
        They should invite bids to join this ‘interim’ league like mention before with a mix of new bid city teams like Canberra, Wollongong, Gold Coast, Townsville, Tasmania, Geelong etc plus bids from existing cities like the Southern Sydney and Casey from Melbourne plus a second team from Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
        Give this league a 5 year plan of promotion to the A-league with a criteria matrix of scaling yearly results (eg year 1,2&3 worth 10% each of matrix, year 4 worth 30% and year 5 worth 50%) including league position, crowds, sponsorship value, financial standing etc. so after the 5 years the 2 strongest teams over the criteria are promoted into the A-League taking the A-League to 12 teams in 2023. These two teams can be replaced by NPL teams who qualify through a seperate criteria.
        The process is followed again over 4 years with promotion in 2027 to take the A-League to 14 teams. Again these two teams being replaced by NPL teams. The process is again repeated ending in 2031.
        In 2035 a full promotion and relegation can begin.

        • April 14th 2017 @ 10:46am
          Waz said | April 14th 2017 @ 10:46am | ! Report

          The clubs with a licence to 2034 can be relegated – provision for pro/rel is in their participation agreements

    • April 14th 2017 @ 11:32am
      Lionheart said | April 14th 2017 @ 11:32am | ! Report

      I wouldn’t worry much about Fox. Let them go with what they have and let the new games with the expansion teams go separately, on streaming to a FFA or club site or other site like OPTUS or even FTA if there’s interest. We’re stuck with the existing teams for some years (ten isn’t it?) except Phoenix, so let p/r work between the new teams only for that period. Thta’s plenty of time to build. Given what the NPL States are building up, there seems to be an easy pathway already being laid, let’s take it. If one of the new team wins the thing and has the stadium/funds etc, then give them the same privileges as the current teams if you want.

    • June 19th 2017 @ 11:17pm
      Pete said | June 19th 2017 @ 11:17pm | ! Report

      I like majority of ideas. This is what I suggest. Keep status Quo for next 3 years in HAL to reward existing clubs and owners the crumbs of the existing TV deal. At same time start up a B league with it either starting at 14 teams or build to this number. The B league to have a home and away 26 round comp. To assist with funding these clubs and comp start a new Cup comp where the B League clubs are in a group with A League clubs Home and away match days. After 3 years based on criteria best 2 clubs join A league. Replace the 2 promoted with new teams in B League, after another 2 years promote 2 teams to A League and the following year introduce promotion relegation. All clubs entering the B League would be subject to paying in for there admission to fund the running of the comp. TV rights to be sold to FOX to show 2 live games a week and also sold out to ABC or SBS to show a 3rd game per week. Admittedly this would be peanuts but it would attract sponsors. By introducing existing clubs like Sth Melbourne , Woolongong Wolves, Adelaide City, Brisbane Strikers and Sydney Utd you have a ready made interest and fan base to compensate the need for new clubs to build there base. All teams to play in smaller venues to cut cost and attract fans at lower prices. Gallop said fish where the fish are, Tasmania, Geelong, Canberra, Casey, Southern Sydney , Gold Coast and Nth Qld have plenty of fish if the right bait is used. Build these new clubs and fan base over time and it can work. The Running of the ALeague and FFA and including club owners has been to self serving for far to long. We need people with vision to take this great game to the position it deserves in this country, that is my thoughts anyway.

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