BEHIND THE DESK: Should the A-League be moved to winter?
FOOTBALL is universally known as a winter sport but would the A-League work alongside the NRL and AFL? Or would it get lost in the crowd?
FOOTBALL IN SUMMER IS WRONG
Mitchell ‘Keeno’ Keenan
THE Hyundai A-League is one of a handful of football competitions that are played over the summer as opposed to the traditional winter season, but why?
The obvious reason is the already crowded winter sports market.
You’ve got AFL and NRL dominating shared venues, television coverage and fan attendance but I believe one of the main problems people have with the A-League is quality.
People want to watch quality football and I don’t think that will ever be truly possible when players are taking to the field in 30+ degree conditions week-in week-out.
It’s clear to see how much more players can offer when they’re playing in cooler conditions and it makes sense because all of our competitions from NPL down are all played in winter in alignment with 95 per cent of competitions around the world.
While this is a move that would need time to come into fruition, the A-League is in need of a game changer and I think this would be it.
AFL and NRL fans would be drawn to spend their time and money away from the A-League over the winter but I believe having the competition on at the right time of year would draw out a lot more of the passionate football fans that are turned off by the idea of summer games.
Make the change and the A-League will flourish.
SUMMER IS THE ONLY OPTION
AS MUCH as it might seem counter-productive having a summer football competition there are so many reasons why we should avoid a winter competition.
First and foremost, the survival of the A-League should be paramount and a move to an incredibly crowded market would destroy it because no matter how much people try, the game will never outgrow NRL and AFL.
While the argument on quality may be somewhat compelling, I think any gain made by players playing in cooler temperatures would be offset by playing on god-awful pitches.
Football relies on a good surface and it is immensely frustrating as a fan to watch on as at the business end of every A-League season our pitches are compromised for the biggest games.
Not only would football have to compete with NRL and AFL for grounds, they would be competing for money.
Air time and money from TV rights would diminish, there would be competition for sponsorship money and A-League would always lose.
There is a real problem with player welfare that will only get worse and it should be taken into consideration when making the draw. Perhaps we could try and be a little flexible.
We could try only having night games or who knows, maybe 9am games will take off.
And better still – air-conditioned stadiums.