A-League is feel­ing the pinch

Geelong Advertiser - - SPORT - ROGER VAUGHAN

AUS­TRALIAN soc­cer boss David Gal­lop warns ex­pan­sion will not solve all prob­lems as the A-League suf­fers through a sig­nif­i­cant slump.

Gal­lop says no one could be happy with the A-League’s TV num­bers and crowds. He says the game has to be mar­keted bet­ter in Aus­tralia, so more peo­ple who play at the grass­roots level be­come rusted-on A-League fans.

The FFA chief ex­ec­u­tive said yes­ter­day 10 teams were not enough and 12 would be prefer­able.

“Ex­pan­sion can of­ten have pit­falls and be a very costly ven­ture in Aus­tralian sport ... we need to think care­fully about that,” he told SEN.

He ex­pects progress in the next few months as the game works through a com­plex set of is­sues linked to how the ALeague op­er­ates, rais­ing cap­i­tal for new teams and the re­wards for cur­rent own­ers.

Gal­lop was blunt about the A-League this sea­son.

“No one could be happy with the pure out­put, in terms of num­bers around at­ten­dances and rat­ings,” he said.

“Of course, those never tell the full story, the qual­ity of the foot­ball has been high, Syd­ney FC have just played beau­ti­ful foot­ball and look al­most un­stop­pable.

“But it’s an­other re­minder of the com­pe­ti­tion in the Aus­tralian mar­ket.”

He said this A-League sea­son had strug­gled to gen­er­ate in­ter­est af­ter the Soc­ceroos’ qual­i­fy­ing process late last year, then the rugby league World Cup, the Ashes, the BBL and the Aus­tralian Open.

“Foot­ball needs to ac­tu­ally think about how it’s mar­keted, both at club level and our level as we go into the next sea­son in Oc­to­ber,” Gal­lop said. “The sport has a lot of rea­son to be op­ti­mistic, con­fi­dent about the fu­ture. “The chal­lenge is to turn those grass­roots par­tic­i­pants into fans of the ALeague.”

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