Football Alive

New Congress must be brave and go ahead with expansion

For starters what a magnificent win by the rebels who have stuck to their guns and finally forced through the FIFA endorsed reforms the game so badly needed.

There is nothing in the reforms but good news, that it took years to put in place shows the true obstinance of Stephen Lowy, he could have accepted this ages back and the game could have moved on, that it took threats of suspension to curb his brinkmanship is a disgrace to his legacy.

One positive that remains from the old board is the option to expand the A-League, the process is itself somewhat coincidentally coming to its conclusion with crunch talks set for October 16th.

There are already rumbles that expansion will be shelved whilst the new A-League model is set up, this would be overly pragmatic by the existing clubs, there is no point pushing for control saying the game is undersold and then stepping back from a way to increase revenue.

Gates at A-League matches have fallen sharply since the FFA’s war on active support and this isn’t helped by the monotonous and uneven fixture list.

Expansion at this stage is coming from a lot of very well connected bids, all of them have major backers or in the case of the Wolves and SMH are clubs that have existed for years and will continue to exist regardless of their divisions.

Of course, there is a need to split the TV money and extra clubs are essentially extra mouths to feed, that said, 2 extra clubs is an extra game to sell rights for and is an opportunity for free to air or with Foxtel.

In the long run, it is hoped the Congress will bring about a divisional pyramid which will allow clubs to rise on merit, this is some years off, it would be an awful shame if we don’t see some of these expressions of interest and fancy drawings turn into real teams and grounds in the meantime.

The A-League has been held back by pessimists for long enough, now that the clubs have finally wrestled control from the old board, let’s hope that their first act isn’t to submit to fear but to invest in hope.

There is no point having control and leaving things the way they are.

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