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The location of this year’s FFA Cup final will be determined through a live draw, with the decision taken out of the hands of Football Federation Australia.
Previously, FFA has had the final say on where the knockout tournament’s deciding match would be played, basing their decisions on a range of factors including finances and broadcaster demands.
It has often led to controversy, with Sydney FC chairman Scott Barlow accusing the governing body of putting “profit” ahead of fairness by handing the 2016 FFA Cup final hosting rights to Melbourne City.
Perth Glory, meanwhile, made the final in the tournament’s first two years but had to travel to the other side of the country on both occasions.
After four years of outcry from clubs and supporters, FFA has bowed to pressure and brought in a “live draw” system that will see hosting rights essentially assigned at random.
The draw will occur after the FFA Cup semi-finals, with the two teams who reach the decider given an even chance – provided there is at least one “suitable venue” in the city where they are based.
Once the city is determined, FFA will use “suitability criteria” to select the most appropriate venue.
“FFA Cup fans have been calling for a process to determine the host city for the FFA Cup final, so we are delighted that this year we have been able to work with A-League clubs and member federations to achieve this positive outcome,” said FFA’s head of leagues Greg O’Rourke.
There have been two other tweaks made to the FFA Cup’s regulations.
Teams competing in the final rounds will be permitted to use a fourth substitute if their match goes into extra-time, as was the case in the World Cup in Russia.
Match officials will also be able to issue coaches with yellow and red cards in FFA Cup games, bringing the tournament in line with recent changes to the A-League.