Finale drew an impressive 2.2 million viewers, more than those for any of the
MLS Cup, and filled the very large stadium, Suncorp Stadium, that the Roar
calls their home to capacity. This
was all fine and dandy but it’s the goings on at the Football Federation
Australia and the A-League, the highest domestic level in the land down under.
regular season wound down Gold Coast United’s license with the FFA to play in
the league was revoked from their wealthy owner Clive Palmer while allowing the
team to finish out the final games of the season. A little odd but considering the on goings of the club was
United had difficulty in attracting large gates to the stadium and Palmer
realized that if his crowds surpassed 5,000 then he needed to add additional
security measures and pay more for area transportation. This caused Palmer last year to close the
south stand to spectators so as to keep possible attendances down so as to not
cost him more money.
considering what was at stake with their nearby rivals North Queensland Fury
going under due to financial mismanagement. It was a sign that things were not financially sound.
Palmer and Gold Coast lost their best players and the community wasn’t willing
to support a cellar dweller of a team.
After a flare incident Palmer decided to close all but one stand,
further restricting the possible gates that he could receive.
Newcastle United Jets owner Nathan Tinkler says that the club he has now handed
over to the FFA is hemorrhaging money at a rate that he felt he could no longer
cover and distanced himself from the league.
The fact is
that while the A-League greatly resembles Major League Soccer with their
Marquee player rule and salary caps and single entity they have differences
that are holding themselves back in some area’s. In MLS all clubs get money from Soccer United Marketing, the
money making machine that brings in European teams for friendlies and has the
Mexican national team play to full capacity NFL stadiums around the country
which in terms bankrolls the entire league’s operations.
is the push to get the long planned second team in Sydney, which the FFA has to
now bring into the fold.
It is a
complete panic situation that has echoes of the NASL in North America and the
predecessor to the A-League the NSL (National Soccer League).
had a team initially in Auckland, the largest city in the country, but it went
belly up because of poor support only for Wellington, the nation’s capital, to
step into the void and become a bright shinning example of a success.
Wellington Phoenix have improved on their attendance year after year and have
played league games away from Wellington at different locations around New
Zealand to spread the game in that country which thanks to the national team
qualifying and doing well in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, only undefeated team at
tournament, makes themselves to be a sign that from difficult situations can
and their FFA need to get their acts together because this is becoming an
embarrassment and blight on the league when at the season’s end fans should be
debating the legitimacy of the title deciding penalty.