On Friday, June 19, Foxtel announced that they would be renewing the A-League’s broadcasting deal until the end of the 2020-21 season.
The A-League then announced a move to winter, which will see the next season of the A-League run from December 2020 to July 2021.
However, while Foxtel agreed to a new deal with the A-League and W-League, the FFA Cup has announced that they will no longer be shown on Fox Sports’ screens. In a public announcement across social media, they announced: “FFA will consider innovative new broadcast arrangements for the only truly national cup competition in Australian sport”.
But where will we see the FFA Cup on our screens next season?
An article by Dominic Bossi in the Sydney Morning Herald stated that the FFA will “assume ownership of FFA Cup broadcast rights as well as reams of archival footage”.
This arrangement could allow FFA TV to come into place, with the FFA Cup and old A-League and W-League footage being shown.
FFA TV would be a lucrative new broadcasting arrangement, and maybe the next step for Australian football, but would people use it without the A-League and W-League?
Another idea would be for the FFA to stream the FFA Cup on social media or YouTube. This would be similar to what Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and others have implemented for their National Premier Leagues.
The FFA could have a version of FFA TV, but on social media and YouTube, and possibly on MyFootball.
The movement of the A-League may also have an impact on the placement of the FFA Cup.
The FFA Cup used to be able to act as a form of the pre-season for the A-League, where every round except for the grand final was played before the A-League.
In 2019, the round of 32 for the FFA Cup started on July 24. With the next A-League season’s grand final to be played at the end of July 2021, it is unlikely that clubs will be willing to play the round of 32 just before the season ends.
Furthermore, revised player contracts will most likely allow A-League players to finish their contracts straight after finals.
This would mean that players’ contracts would either have to extend until after the FFA Cup or that the clubs would just have to play with thinner squads during the knockout stages while they’re recruiting.
This could cause the FFA Cup to move starting dates, something that would heavily impact lower league clubs.
A total of 736 clubs participated in the 2019 FFA Cup qualifying rounds, running from February 9 to June 25. This is more than a five-month span in which teams are playing on and off.
These clubs, while not considered the most important in the football landscape, need to be cared for and need to agree should we move the FFA Cup, as they are the clubs who the FFA Cup means the most to, as outlined by FFA’s tagline: the magic of the cup.
Another important factor that could play into the change of the competition is the Asian Champions League. The FFA Cup will be looking not to clash with the ACL, although it would be unlikely considering the Champions League would be played out over the first few months of the A-League 2020-21 season.
Should the A-League remain in winter over the next few seasons, the FFA Cup has to be moved, and should be broadcasted across social media for the short term.
Social media is a quick solution for the broadcasting rights. The Football Federation Australia would then be able to reassess after the end of the A-League’s contract with Foxtel, while a move will simply be convenient towards the A-League clubs.
The change in the FFA Cup’s broadcasting and the move of the A-League has posed many questions over the competition.
But there remains one driving question: what’s next for the FFA Cup?