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The Australian A League


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I've been living in Australia for a while and have taken in some Australian A League games. I assure you all MLS is light years ahead of Australian top flight football. I went to Sydney FC vs. Perth Glory yesterday and watched two teams that couldn't even string 4 passes together. Words don't do justice in trying to explain just how bad it can be. I'd put my rent money on the national amateur champion Calgary Callies whooping them.

The reason I bring this up is a few years ago people were clamouring for a Canadian league, thank God one never took off because it would be like watching the A league.

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quote:Originally posted by Raven

at least they have a league...who are we to criticize :/

But who cares about the league. Leagues by themselves and in name mean absolutely nothing. It all comes down to how solid ( from an operational and financial standpoint) the clubs are. I would take our current situationany day over what Australia and what many other countries have.

Compared to where we were at the start of this decade, yes, I would agree that we had a lot to be ashamed of then. But we have three good clubs that are well supported, financially viable and are gaining brand identity. So there is an path for aspiring talented players thats been paved.

I do not see what good it would do to have a "national league" or some sort of national championship if the claibre is as bad as the Austarlian league has been described.

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quote:Originally posted by jimmynow

so you'd want a crappy league just because?

Quality isn't everything otherwise you wouldn't be watching MLS/USL in the first place. Wouldn't you rather have more than 3 teams in Canada?

Also I don't see a big difference b/w A-league and MLS. Soccerpro is obviously exaggerating and/or bias since A-league teams have done just fine in their confederation's Champions League (better than MLS teams have done in theirs).

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quote:Originally posted by michaeltfc91

I agree with Raven. At least they have a league. We have 3 pro teams, they have 8. I'd definetly rather have an 8 team Canadian Soccer league than the current situation.

Excuse me....The Hyundai A-League is expected to add an addition of 2 more teams to their league by next year...and with another 2 more in 2011...and another 2 more by 2012, thus bringing the league to 14 teams.
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Soccerpro is not exaggerating. And having one team who performs decently during a stretch of a cup run doesnt qualify as doing fine from a league standpoint.

If Canada has a league where weak players are playing against each other on a professional basis, it's not going to improve the level of play of the players even marginally because they're not playing against any quality opposition. And a few years of play wont change that fact either. That is the main thrust of the A-League arguement. And don't say the A -league had anything to do with Australia qualifying for the world cup. Nearly everyone, if not everyone on that field played over seas and has before an A-league was even formed.

quote:Originally posted by amacpher

Quality isn't everything otherwise you wouldn't be watching MLS/USL in the first place. Wouldn't you rather have more than 3 teams in Canada?

Also I don't see a big difference b/w A-league and MLS. Soccerpro is obviously exaggerating and/or bias since A-league teams have done just fine in their confederation's Champions League (better than MLS teams have done in theirs).

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FFA reveal plans to extend A-League to 12 teams

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Football Federation Australia Chairman Frank Lowy has revealed ambitious plans to further expand the Hyundai A-League to a 12-team competition in time for the 2010/11 season.

Speaking at FFA's annual general meeting on Thursday - his fifth as chairman - Lowy said not even the current global economic crisis would stand in the way of the round-ball game's progress in Australia.

"I certainly hope that (for the 2010/11 season) we'll have 12 teams and I think at that time we kind of need to reassess our capacity, our future," Lowy said.

"And maybe the other two teams which I have some hope for will have to take a little time but (we will add two teams) next year and the year after."

While the first two expansion clubs - North Queensland Fury and Gold Coast United - will venture into new territory next season, Lowy all but confirmed the arrival of a second team in both Melbourne and Sydney for version six of the fledgling competition.

Asked when the 11th and 12th Hyundai A-League licences will be granted, Lowy confidently predicted a decision would be made in a matter of months.

He revealed: "We're talking to a Melbourne (based consortium) which we have already given a preference for one (of the new licences) and we are working with a Sydney syndicate that may materialise in the next few months."

The chairman is in no doubt support for the code in Melbourne and Sydney is strong enough to accommodate an additional Hyundai A-League franchise.

"The one-team per city (concept) was very good up to now but I think we need to double up on that," he said.

"First of all for Sydney spectators it would be good for them if they could watch a game every week ... Sydney or Melbourne should be able to support two teams."

"I mean (with a population of) four or five million people, and of course the distances are far and West Sydney has a definite place in this competition and we're confident that we'll find the right consortia and it will be successful."

Meanwhile, FFA CEO Ben Buckley said the degree of secrecy surrounding the bid for a second Melbourne team is not cause for concern.

"The people who are backing it are very successful business people in their own right, they have a lot of football knowledge on their board but I think they're just making sure they don't put the cart before the horse," Buckley said.

"They want to get the licence, they want to get it secured and I'm sure they'll be public at the appropriate time.

"You can take it from me, it's real and they're good quality people."

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=596645&sec=australia&campaign=rss&source=soccernet&cc=5901

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quote:Originally posted by Luis_Rancagua

Excuse me....The Hyundai A-League is expected to add an addition of 2 more teams to their league by next year...and with another 2 more in 2011...and another 2 more by 2012, thus bringing the league to 14 teams.

ya.. and i said right now we have 3, they have 8.

Whats your point? I didn't say anything about their expansion. I said even an 8 team Canadian league is better than our situation now.

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If we had 4-6 USL1 teams and 2 MLS teams, I'd be very happy with our professional club situation in Canada.

As it stands right now, there are not nearly enough fully professional opportunities for Canadian players. Until that problem is rectified, there will always be issues about not only the quality of our player pool but the sheer numbers will continue to be lacking as well.

I watch the A-League highlite show on Fox Sports World every week, more or less, and there is no doubt that the level is not exceedingly high but it doesn't appear to be horrible either. Definitely a notch lower than USL1, definitely better than CSL. That's my frame of reference....

The most important thing for me is that A-league matches appear to be relatively well attended...that is no small feat for a sport that is not exactly the dominant sport in the country (its definitely very popular but has plenty of competition from Aussie Rules Football, Rugby, Cricket, etc..).

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I tend to side with soccerpro on this one. In its fourth season, the quality of play in the A-league is usually dire. Every now and then there will be a good quality, entertaining match, but not very often. The crowds are strong, however, making for a decent live experience. Watching a game on TV is horrendous. Where the A-league has it over MLS is in TV exposure. Every single A-league match is available live on FoxSports. There is also a weekly preview show and a weekly hilights show. Nobody in Australia expects the A-league to showcase the best Australian players. It's understood that the A-league should provide a platform for younger players to develop in preparation for a pro career overseas with a few ageing pros extending their careers at home after years in Europe. The gaps are filled with marginal Brazilians and journeymen Aussies taken from the top state league teams. To keep the level of play in perspective, Fred (not the Lyon's Fred, who plays for Brazil) was probably the best player in the competition in the 06-07 season, leading Melbourne Victory to the league and cup double. He's just returned to the A-league with Wellington Phoenix after two season largely spent on the bench for DC United.

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Worth bearing in mind that they are trying to stock 8 (soon to be 12) teams with pro level players from a population smaller than Canada's in an environment where soccer was every bit as much outside the mainstream until recently. Australian Rules being the traditional top sport for their equivalent of Don Cherry types in Victoria, South Australia, West Australia and Tasmania and Rugby League being the top sport in New South Wales and Queensland. They have a much more sports mad culture so they can just about make it work but it's worth noting that despite having crowds bordering on five figures the A League still might have folded after the first season without a major cash injection from Sky satellite television, which would not be available in a Canadian context.

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Not that I disagree with your assessment of the league, but it should be said that Fred was in fact a starter at DC United in 2007 & 2008 and played regularly starting 20 games in 2008 and 23 in 2007.

quote:Originally posted by SthMelbRed

I tend to side with soccerpro on this one. In its fourth season, the quality of play in the A-league is usually dire. Every now and then there will be a good quality, entertaining match, but not very often. The crowds are strong, however, making for a decent live experience. Watching a game on TV is horrendous. Where the A-league has it over MLS is in TV exposure. Every single A-league match is available live on FoxSports. There is also a weekly preview show and a weekly hilights show. Nobody in Australia expects the A-league to showcase the best Australian players. It's understood that the A-league should provide a platform for younger players to develop in preparation for a pro career overseas with a few ageing pros extending their careers at home after years in Europe. The gaps are filled with marginal Brazilians and journeymen Aussies taken from the top state league teams. To keep the level of play in perspective, Fred (not the Lyon's Fred, who plays for Brazil) was probably the best player in the competition in the 06-07 season, leading Melbourne Victory to the league and cup double. He's just returned to the A-league with Wellington Phoenix after two season largely spent on the bench for DC United.

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quote:Originally posted by Free kick

But who cares about the league. Leagues by themselves and in name mean absolutely nothing. It all comes down to how solid ( from an operational and financial standpoint) the clubs are. I would take our current situationany day over what Australia and what many other countries have.

Compared to where we were at the start of this decade, yes, I would agree that we had a lot to be ashamed of then. But we have three good clubs that are well supported, financially viable and are gaining brand identity. So there is an path for aspiring talented players thats been paved.

I do not see what good it would do to have a "national league" or some sort of national championship if the claibre is as bad as the Austarlian league has been described.

Averaging 11,600 in attendance, draggged down somewhat by the sub 4000 drawn by New Zealand. I'd say there were a few who cared about the league. As much as I am thrilled by the 4 Canadian "jobs" created by TFC and that we can dream of maybe 3 more teams in the next decade I beg to differ with you on the notion that what we have now is better. Australia already kicks our ass, and in a decade will be kicking our asses even harder.

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quote:Originally posted by Soccerpro

Soccerpro is not exaggerating. And having one team who performs decently during a stretch of a cup run doesnt qualify as doing fine from a league standpoint.

It's more than one team. Every Australian team entering the AFC Champions League has done okay. Last season it was a different club and they drew twice (IIRC) with the J-league club that was in their group and just missed winning the group.

You began this thread with the words " I've been living in Australia ..." which always sets off alarm bells in my head (sorry) because posters usually say that to make their argument stronger. BUT of course you're no different than the rest of us who are watching one of these leagues regularly up-close and comparing it to other leagues that you only see on TV.

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quote:Originally posted by amacpher

It's more than one team. Every Australian team entering the AFC Champions League has done okay. Last season it was a different club and they drew twice (IIRC) with the J-league club that was in their group and just missed winning the group.

You began this thread with the words " I've been living in Australia ..." which always sets off alarm bells in my head (sorry) because posters usually say that to make their argument stronger. BUT of course you're no different than the rest of us who are watching one of these leagues regularly up-close and comparing it to other leagues that you only see on TV.

Or I've attended both MLS and A-League games in person, followed the leagues closely and am also drawing on the experience and opinions of fellow Canadian travellers, as well as american friends, i personally know who have attended games and followed both leagues first hand while living in each country.

So, you are dead wrong. Thus, feeling the need to attack an inconsequential sentence in my post.

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"regularly" being the key word in my last post.

Anyway, A-league teams have done well in the Asian Champions League. Sorry to be stubborn but its difficult to get past that fact.

But I guess this debate is pointless because even if Canada had their own league, it wouldn't necessarily be as strong as the Australian-league.

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quote:Originally posted by Gordon

Averaging 11,600 in attendance, draggged down somewhat by the sub 4000 drawn by New Zealand. I'd say there were a few who cared about the league. As much as I am thrilled by the 4 Canadian "jobs" created by TFC and that we can dream of maybe 3 more teams in the next decade I beg to differ with you on the notion that what we have now is better. Australia already kicks our ass, and in a decade will be kicking our asses even harder.

Right. Some Canadians would be happy to see the CFL fold and have a Toronto NFL team instead. I don't understand these people but whatever...

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I stumbled across an interesting series of articles and responses regarding the A-League's hopes of adding a second division with pro/rel.

http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,23942733-12428,00.html

"The committee awarded the A-League a "B" grade rating with Australian soccer's showpiece gaining 306 out of a total 500 points in this year's assessment. The grading has - at this point - stagnated the A-League's potential to enter more than two clubs in the 32-team revamped 2009 AFC Champions League. Japan, China, South Korea, Iran, U.A.E and Saudi Arabia, which all have promotion and relegation systems</u>, have been rewarded by increasing their presence to four clubs in the new eight-group Champions League format."

It seems the AFC, is strongarming Asian leagues into having not only ambitions for pro-rel, but also leagues with teams from only one country (thereby weeding out NZ teams), which hurts the A-League twice if these goals see fruition as actual requirements, as opposed to strong recommendations.

http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,23746350-12428,00.html

http://theworldgame.sbs.com.au/a-league/a-league-plans-for-promotion-relegation-119702/

(some Blatter comments)

ACL's plans including info on their side-by-side evaluations of each Asian league:

http://www.the-afc.com/uploads/Documents/common/cms/afc/ACL2009nov08.pdf

A recent blog on the topic: http://www.theroar.com.au/2008/12/17/will-the-relegationpromotion-system-work-for-the-a-league/

"It’s a cruel system when your team is on the downward spiral, but it rewards hard work, commitment and most of all creates motivation to succeed.This motivation is something FFA would eventually like introduced to the A-League by including a second-tier B-League. If it happens, it will immediately add intrigue."

For what it's worth, it doesn't seem to me that pro-rel could ever work in Australia, no matter how badly some at the FFA and AFC would like to see it happen. Nothing to do with the lack of history of pro-rel(I seem to recall that someone told me that a couple leagues have actually used this in Oz - not that I agree with the argument either way, as most of you will remember), but just the logistics of a country with so few real population centers, and such a short history with fully professional soccer. I would like to hear what some of the australia based guys think, though.

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quote:Originally posted by nolando

For what it's worth, it doesn't seem to me that pro-rel could ever work in Australia, no matter how badly some at the FFA and AFC would like to see it happen. Nothing to do with the lack of history of pro-rel(I seem to recall that someone told me that a couple leagues have actually used this in Oz - not that I agree with the argument either way, as most of you will remember), but just the logistics of a country with so few real population centers, and such a short history with fully professional soccer. I would like to hear what some of the australia based guys think, though.

How does expansion currently work in Australia? Is there a franchise fee?

I think pro/rel could work anywhere eventually, but the A-league isn't ready. You have to have at least 18 teams I would think.

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I don't see why we're comparing ourselves to australia in this thread seeing as they're miles ahead of us. It should be obvious that our situation is more comparable to New Zealand's, as they enter one pro club in a bigger country's league. They also have a semi-pro domestic league (the NZFC) that is very similar to the CSL, which sends a representative to OFC champions league, and they usually win the thing and play in the club world cup. Wouldn't it be something if say, the Serbian White Eagles of the CSL competed in the club world cup? But that's oceania for you...

But back to the a-league: this past season, Adelaide United made it to the final of AFC champions league ultimately losing out to Gamba Osaka. That certainly says something about the quality of the a-league if one of their clubs was second best in the confederation. Also, New Zealand's lone a-league franchise has done wonders for their national program as they have numerous NZ internationals on the club. They even have the same manager! It's pretty much the de facto national team that a lot of v's wish TFC was. NZ is now awaiting the 5th place asian team to play for a place in the world cup. I wish we were OFC.

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