Thanks very much Gnasher! I wasn’t aware of that. Will take a look and may feature the issue in a future Sport inc. Much appreciated!

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Kamikaze bravery award to the A League in Australia for its plan to introduce a second professional division ahead of full promotion and relegation. This is what the Asian Football Conference has asked of its newest and not-very-Asian member, and what local purists would like, if only to end the practice of a Championship decided by end of season playoffs rather than season points - considered necessary to sustain interest in a league without relegation.

And yet...

Currrent A League attendances are about 7,000 and TV viewing and revenues are pitiful. If one of the top strikers in the league is Adam Le Fondre, you fear for the quality of a second division. On top of that, you have the murky ethnic loyalties and rivalries of potential second tier clubs (see the recent FFA final) and the high costs of fulfilling national fixtures in a continent sized country, which would rival all of likely gate receipts in a national rather than state-based second division.

In all, it looks like establishing a more authentic competition would just open Australian football’s financial wounds even wider.

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A-League attendances, not helped by Covid, the introduction of two “marginal” clubs, Macarthur and Western United, and the move by Perth and Brisbane to smaller suburban stadiums. The feel good factor of the World Cup was quickly snuffed out by the uproar over siting the Grand Final and the Melbourne Derby invasion.


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