The A-League, Football in Australia and the CoronaVirus Crisis Thread

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acm21

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I doubt anything close to all NPL clubs could afford to fly and accommodate their players and coaches as a matter of course.
There would likely be a re organisation of the leagues so those who wish to enter the 2nd division could (and some sides would already have money behind them when this would be to come through). They idea of a more regional comp would slash the costs but may affect the ability to get a proper broadcast deal and comp wide sponsorship revenue (although you may be able to find 3-4 sponsors paying the same amount within their specific markets e.g. retra vision in wa)
 

giggler99

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A-League set for 32 games in 36 days in proposed restart plan


Football Federation Australia has reportedly proposed a rapid 32 matches in 36 days to complete the 2019-20 A-League season.


The remaining matches will commence on July 18 and culminate in the grand final on August 22, according to a report in The Daily Telegraph.
All matches would be played in a 'single hub', either in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane.
However, host broadcaster Fox Sports needs to sign off on the plan and both Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) and the clubs would have to come to a pay agreement for the players.

Further hurdles include agreements around expiring contracts - more than 100 players are free agents from June 1 - and health and hygiene measures.

It is unlikely that fans will be able to attend any of these matches, although that could change if government restrictions and guidelines are eased.

 

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giggler99

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Fox Sports’ multi-million dollar roadblock to A-League restart | The World Game
Updated Updated 21 hours ago
By Dave Lewis

All the dominoes are in place for a long-awaited resumption in a NSW hub format featuring 32 games in 36 games - with an August 22 grand final.
However, Fox Sports - according to reliable club sources - won’t sanction a return to action until the FFA agree to accept a funding package worth up to 50 per cent less annually than the existing $57.6 million a year commitment to the code.
There are three years left on the six-year agreement with the game’s long-time partner, meaning the FFA are being asked to wear a loss of revenue of around $86 million.

Questions had been raised over why A-League clubs were awaiting permission to resume training whilst the National Rugby League kicks off again tomorrow, after its own COVID-19 interruption.

The answer - it appears - has now been revealed, with Fox Sports playing hard ball with the ruling body.

Fox Sports’ parent company Foxtel is $2 billion in the red, and recently slashed 250 jobs with further redundancies looming, as subscribers ditch the pay-TV service for streaming alternatives.

The FFA are suffering the consequences of that downturn, with Fox Sports latching on to the loss of content during the coronavirus shutdown as a lever to revisit its 15-year relationship with the governing body.

Fox Sports has the right to terminate the existing deal by virtue of the A-League being off the grid since March 23, as a result of force majeure (unforeseen circumstances).

The broadcaster has been disenchanted for some time over falling viewing figures and diminishing attendances across the competition.

Its current stance - which some may construe as opportunistic - is likely to be a source of frustration at the FFA, who have reached an in-principle agreement with the players over payments, and the clubs over venues.

Stadiums in NSW - including Western Sydney Wanderers’ Bankwest Stadium have been booked - and health protocols are in place for a July 18 resumption.

The way the existing contract is structured, the FFA would be in breach - if they were resume unilaterally - and open to damage claims.

The ramifications of Fox Sports stalling on sanctioning a restart run deep, with existing club sponsorships dependent on the season being completed.

Both Fox Sports and the FFA declined to comment when contacted by The World Game.

 

Zidane98

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Fox Sports’ multi-million dollar roadblock to A-League restart | The World Game
Updated Updated 21 hours ago
By Dave Lewis

All the dominoes are in place for a long-awaited resumption in a NSW hub format featuring 32 games in 36 games - with an August 22 grand final.
However, Fox Sports - according to reliable club sources - won’t sanction a return to action until the FFA agree to accept a funding package worth up to 50 per cent less annually than the existing $57.6 million a year commitment to the code.
There are three years left on the six-year agreement with the game’s long-time partner, meaning the FFA are being asked to wear a loss of revenue of around $86 million.

Questions had been raised over why A-League clubs were awaiting permission to resume training whilst the National Rugby League kicks off again tomorrow, after its own COVID-19 interruption.

The answer - it appears - has now been revealed, with Fox Sports playing hard ball with the ruling body.

Fox Sports’ parent company Foxtel is $2 billion in the red, and recently slashed 250 jobs with further redundancies looming, as subscribers ditch the pay-TV service for streaming alternatives.

The FFA are suffering the consequences of that downturn, with Fox Sports latching on to the loss of content during the coronavirus shutdown as a lever to revisit its 15-year relationship with the governing body.

Fox Sports has the right to terminate the existing deal by virtue of the A-League being off the grid since March 23, as a result of force majeure (unforeseen circumstances).

The broadcaster has been disenchanted for some time over falling viewing figures and diminishing attendances across the competition.

Its current stance - which some may construe as opportunistic - is likely to be a source of frustration at the FFA, who have reached an in-principle agreement with the players over payments, and the clubs over venues.

Stadiums in NSW - including Western Sydney Wanderers’ Bankwest Stadium have been booked - and health protocols are in place for a July 18 resumption.

The way the existing contract is structured, the FFA would be in breach - if they were resume unilaterally - and open to damage claims.

The ramifications of Fox Sports stalling on sanctioning a restart run deep, with existing club sponsorships dependent on the season being completed.

Both Fox Sports and the FFA declined to comment when contacted by The World Game.

Good luck trying to terminate the rest of their 3 year contract under the pretense of force majeure. At most it will free them from their obligations for the duration of any period where competition was not possible. They'll be laughed out of court with a huge legal bill to pay. They are better off negotiating a payout to the A League out of court if they dont want to continue.
 

Zidane98

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Also the idea that the FFA would accept a 50% reduction on an already agreed contract for the remaining 3 years of Foxtel's agreement is pretty laughable.


If Foxtel can't honour their obligations for this season then the FFA is within their rights to source another broadcaster for the remainder of this season.
 

Minidisc MD

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I understand the guaranteed Fox and Hyundai money got the league funded, but after those first five years of bedding it down, they shouldn't taken a financial loss but built on public momentum and gone free-to-air. brought in two new teams in anticipation of...
 

General Giant

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Will be axing it as soon as they end the deal.
Giants games are on FTA every week (can put on mute) so they can go bye bye.

Hopefully the FFA can do a NBL and FootballVic and do their own broadcasting (having all of football) on selling it to stations here and internationally and to sponsors.


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giggler99

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The whole thing has become a shambles and they should just cancel the season and focus on sorting this sh*t out.

It is honestly starting to look like amateur hour from all involved.
I Agree with you. What is the point if by the end of the current season we have no league to go back too.

A big reset button needs to be pushed!
 

FreoRicci

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Shouldn’t have gotten to this point. COVID19 is merely a blip on FFA’s struggle.
2005-qualify for World Cup for the first time in 32 years.
At the same time, A League is formed and kicked off.
Great first few years, huge popularity.
What has happened since is an absolute disgrace to the game. Massive step backwards, no one holding accountability. In that time, Australia has qualified for 2010, 2014 and 2018 World Cup. The game should’ve been significantly stronger then it is. In 2003, the government comes out with the Crawford Report, showcasing the shambles that then Soccer Australia was in.
Is FFA is deeper trouble given the crowning success that Socceroos had in Asian Cup and qualifying for WCs aswell as Matildas sustained success? Think it is. Only just now it’s unravelling. Lowy family a blight on the game in the end?
So many questions.
 

bok_party

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How are everyone’s state bodies handling community football? Football west have basically said 16 game season with no promotion or relegation.
 

giggler99

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Sydney FC boss backs A-League and Foxtel to stick together

According to its contract with the A-League, Foxtel is not going anywhere, but some stakeholders say it is only a matter of time before the pay television provider and the sport part ways, which would end a relationship that began with the league back in 2005.
Key points:
  • The A-League still does not have a resumption date set
  • Foxtel will have final say on whether a plan to finish the season in July/August with 32 games in 35 days will go ahead
  • Prominent powers in the game are interested to see the benefits of playing the A-League when the rest of the country is also playing football
Despite the uncertainty that has been cast over the current A-League season, Sydney FC boss Danny Townsend does not think his sport's partnership with its broadcaster is coming to an end.
"We have been in partnership with Foxtel for 15 years and I don't see that changing," he said.
But after making significant layoffs to its football department in the past year while dealing with stagnating ratings and a softening advertising market, one could be forgiven for thinking it might be considering offloading the A-League rights.
A new proposal that would see the final 32 games of the 2019/20 season played in 35 days has been put to Foxtel, designed to create a festival of the sport, with a grand final in mid-August.
The FFA is about to head to the negotiating table with the broadcaster, which will have the final say on whether the revised season-ending plan goes ahead in its proposed format.
A group of footballers jump on each other in celebration next to a crowd of cheering fans.

There is a proposal to finish the A-League season with almost a game a day for just over a month.(AAP: James Elsby)
Foxtel has reportedly offered substantially less than its usual $57 million annual payment to Football Federation Australia (FFA) to broadcast the league, given the impact of the coronavirus shutdowns.
FFA chief executive James Johnson said he was focused on getting a deal done and ending the season properly.
"We have really looked at some of the leagues that we are working closely with, such as the Bundesliga, and what we have seen is that more people are watching live sports on TV," he said.
"I think it is a good time to broadcast the league and I think our fans will view this very positively to be able to watch effectively one match per day over a one-month period."

One goal at a time
Former National Soccer League player and current Fox commentator Andy Harper said the game's biggest financial consideration during this time should be its relationship with Fox Sports.
"My sense is that within the game there is a distinct willingness to employ a short-term, two-phase approach to this," Harper said.
"One is an agreement to get the existing season dealt with in that period and then the second part of that is a bridging sort of period into subsequent seasons.
"I would like to think there is going to be a pretty resolute agreement between all parties that everybody in the game is taking a haircut severely."
James Johnson talks at a press conference

FFA chief executive James Johnson wants to see what a mid-year finish could do for the A-League.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)
Having got agreement from the players to take a pay cut and the clubs to move to the one location to finish the season, Johnson said the plan had the added benefit of testing whether the A-League should run at the same time as the lower football leagues.
"I think it will be positive," Johnson said.
"Our 2 million participants [registered football players] and our many A-League fans have really been starved of watching and playing football for many months now."
Johnson said he was also looking at a new player-transfer model that would incentivise clubs to create and foster top-level talent, similar to other systems in countries like Uruguay, Croatia and Belgium.


A-League under review
Beyond the scope of the current season, Johnson, who became FFA boss late last year, said he wanted to eventually review when the A-League should be played.
"I would like to know if our current calendar — does it align better with grassroots?" he said.
"If we were better aligned, would we see more participants converted into A-League fans?
A soccer net with children playing in front of it

The world game has one of the highest participation rates of any sports in Australia, but that does not necessarily translate to A-League fans.(Unsplash: Alyssa Ledesma)
"I think we need to ask ourselves 'does the current calendar help the clubs and our game in the international transfer market?' These are questions I think that we need to talk about.
"I am certainly open to opening up that debate."
Townsend agreed there could be some benefits to the A-League being played alongside the 2 million Australians playing the sport, but admitted the reschedule was not straightforward, with the NRL occupying many of the major grounds used by A-League teams.
"The big strength of our code is the huge wealth of players we have coming through the system," he said.
Sydney FC chief executive Danny Townsend stands, wearing a suit, at the beach side.

Sydney FC boss Danny Townsend would not mind seeing the A-League shifted from its summer timeslot on the sporting calendar.(ABC News: Elena de Bruijne)
"Equally there are some challenges around … [whether there are] available to share rectangular stadia in certain cities, but it has definitely got merit."
Whatever direction the game takes after its current negotiation is finalised, Harper said the most important thing would be for all of the game's stakeholders to get behind the new vision for the sport, which would ultimately by set by its new chief executive.
"From the top of the pyramid down to the very base, the challenge for our game was and probably will remain, an alignment issue," Harper said.
"The A-League has been, over the course of its 15 years, a very bright success, albeit with various issues that it needs to deal with, no hiding from that.
"That is a great foundation."

 

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giggler99

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Not sure about the move to winter, the game will be even more irrelvent than it already is, but I like the idea of marrying the NPL leagues alongside the A-league. Just how to do it with a revived exposure and the politics to deal with is the challege James Johnson has to overcome. Wouldn't want to be in his shoes but if he can pull it off well.. it would be a hell of an achievement that will set the game up for the future!
 

Kwality

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The NRL took a haircut, the AFL will take a haircut, whether the A-League, Rugby Aus or Supercars get a gig is in Foxtels hands.

'Sources told The Australian Financial Review that the agreements would include reduced rights fees for the shortened 2020 season and reductions for the final two seasons of the existing agreement.'

The sports codes have breached their contracts, they have no legal leg to stand on.
 

General Giant

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If it’s played in Winter;

- we compete with other rectangle field codes yes, but we aren’t competing with. Cricket, beaches and other social activities.

- we also wouldn’t have the problem of late night games on a school night due to heat.

- having a winter break would give us November for finals, FFA Cup and ACL.

- better quality surely on winter rather than in the heat of Summer.

- All levels aligned.

The more I think about it the more I think it would be a good idea.


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giggler99

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If it’s played in Winter;

- we compete with other rectangle field codes yes, but we aren’t competing with. Cricket, beaches and other social activities.

- we also wouldn’t have the problem of late night games on a school night due to heat.

- having a winter break would give us November for finals, FFA Cup and ACL.

- better quality surely on winter rather than in the heat of Summer.

- All levels aligned.

The more I think about it the more I think it would be a good idea.


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Thats all good but what about the exposure? the game is buried as it is further back in the papers and in the news cycles can't imagine how it will gain anything with the AFL/NRL as its direct competitor, sponsorships will fall because of the lack there of, TV exposure/ratings will be worse too those fans/members who are fans and members of both A-league/NRL/AFL will have to make choices and I will bet most will not be attending A-league matches. these issues and many more need to be considered.
 
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giggler99

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This is a great post from the forVucksake forum by Dantehicks who articulates it a hell of a lot better than I could.


dantehicks said:
Sorry bdz, been biting my lip at just about every one of your posts but this time I'm gonna reply.

Television audiences? The amount of eye balls on the A-League will be even less in winter. By a long way. In every state during winter months everything is saturated with the other codes. Free to air, pay TV and online platforms. Even now when the A-League is in the summer months, we struggle for oxygen. It's still 6-7 pages back in the sports sections of papers. Even if I allow you in this argument that numbers will be the same in the A-League in terms of interest and viewing (which I don't but I will for the sake of argument), how do you expect the league to grow? How do you expect it to expand? And by that I mean expand the way it has in 15 years. Yes we are in a lull now, but the interest in the league is much bigger now than it was in 2004/5. Back then, people thought the Melbourne club would struggle out of all the new clubs! The whole reason why we were able to do things like sign Carlos Hernandez was based on the idea that we could actually have tangible growth. I don't like using anecdotes much, but I will in this case. Majority of people I know, follow both AFL and football. Split their choices up during winter, it's gonna be a bad time. You may say 'fu** those people' we need to go out on our own, but this has been tried before. It's history repeating itself mate.

But the growth thing man, it's so important. The ability to be able to adapt to situations when things get going. It's the reason why we moved from Olympic Park. That doesn't happen in winter. For obvious reasons. We don't have room to move, to be able to have clubs that can invest, and re-invest, year after year. Even now MVFC does well, but we can't even build an academy in this city. Now you think it will be good for us commercially if we pit ourselves against prime time AFL?

Every single thing we do in this sport has to take into account the specific cultural context we are in. This is why various administrators of football over decades and decades have mulled over this and have always ended up landing on summer, for that very reason. We are already starved of attention and the corporate dollar that makes it all tick. Companies will not invest in things that don't have eye balls. It's that simple. Moving the league to winter would be nothing short of a disaster.

On the topic of a 2nd division, pro-rel and all that. Man, I just don't know anymore. I think a 2nd div is obviously a good idea, if executed well, but if it's just a souped-up NPL what is the point exactly? Who will invest in something that no one watches? Take the best and biggest NPL clubs, and look at their capitalisation. They struggle. Increase their spends by being part of a national league in winter, who will pay for it? I hate being a f*n realist, but at the end of the day money drives these things. It is literally the way things happen in all sports. We just happen to be sh*t out of luck in this country for a multitude of reasons when it comes to money and getting first dibs to it. We don't have the population, let alone the facilities. Aside from a handful of NPL clubs, we don't even have adequate stadiums. Then there is the cultural layer. People in Australia just aren't interested in 2nd tier sports. Mate, I was going to NSL games in the 90s and 00's. Yes there were some good periods but a lot of that was down to cultural milieu at the time, kids of migrants, perfect storm etc. Now the kids of migrants have their own kids, and they are assimilated. Even South v Knights these days barely gets 5000 people. It's just the way it is.

We can either have ambitions to be bigger and grow as best we can, or we can lower the bar. Lowering the bar means moving to winter, it means less investors in the game, it means less media interest. It means we are prepared to just accept being a niche hobby. I'm personally not up for that.

I'm up for this -



I say all this with a very heavy heart. I wish we had the context that would allow for a fully fledged football pyramid that would prosper and grow in the way us football nuts want it to. Like it does in other parts of the world. It would be wonderful. Perfect for us football romantics. But to me, and maybe it's cos I'm a bit jaded and old now, just can't happen in the short and medium terms. Mind you, as I said just before, I just don't know ... things could turn out really bad for football coming out of this pandemic. I hold my hand up and say right now, we are at a cross-roads once again and it could all turn to sh*t. But I like to think that James Johnson will come out of this a hero to the game. We need to build on what we have established the past 15 years, not throw it away.

Nothing personal to to you bdz, just my thoughts in general.
 

dwwaino

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The only thing IMO that a winter comp has going for it is that if you make the knockouts of the ACL you're not playing them two seasons after you actually qualified and when contracts expire like it does at the moment.
 

GREENESHOOTS

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The solution to the 'weather problem' is play games at night, Fox needs to back down on forcing teams to play earlier to get more viewers.
Playing in winter there's the stadium competition issue with NRL codes, then theres the over saturation of winter sport.
 

acm21

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I think the use of the bbl structure in previous years could work pretty well for the league if it was to stay in its current spot. I think no matter what they need to have good energy behind it and a fta partner showing 2-3 games a week, with the partner giving it the oxygen it needs. 10 could have been a great get but the care wasn't there. If the contract falls apart it could be a good thing but optus is unlikely to go in for it at this stage (not on its own atleast) and the Netflix style structure that I saw an article about won't work for where the league is at (there is not enough hard core or semi hard core support to get the subscribers that over leagues have. The idea of the in-house production probably would help get deals done, as well as get some money from sponsors and other ad revenue (but where the content is being shown is more important then who makes it)
 

JezzasOnTheAsphalt

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The A-league can’t have the compressed bbl type structure in my opinion. Bbl is not the main event of the cricketing summer. A-league needs to be the code’s centrepiece and turning it into a carnival feels like a give up, last resort option to me that we would make when we know that a proper season isn’t going to be successful. Only the month long summer of heroes concept I could consider revisiting.
 

Andonis1997

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I'm going to be honest, I'll be watching the AFL primarily if there's ever a time/season clash. I'd be watching the A-League even less if it was a fun exhibition tournament like the BBL. Would be making (even more of) a mockery of the Hyundai A-League.

...unless it's the Nix of course. But... Point still stands.
 

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