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Heat on A-League to explain hot United game decision

Manton St Tales

It baffles many that Adelaide United’s Sunday game against Newcastle didn’t kick off at a later time to avoid the heat. It’s hard not to think TV schedules won the argument, argues Spiro Karanikos-Mimis.

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You’ve read this before and I know you’re tired of it.

But I feel obliged to add my voice to the chorus of anger and discontent about the decision not delay the start of Adelaide United’s game against Newcastle on Sunday.

As a game, we continue to shoot ourselves in the foot.

It beggars belief that Adelaide United’s request to have the game start at a later time was rejected by the FFA, whoever is running the A-League right now and Fox Sports.

I was told by someone at the club that their excuse was that the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (the reading that is used to determine if it’s too hot to play) would be well under 28 at 5:30pm.

28 is the magic number.

If the WBGT is 28 or higher then kick-off must be postponed.

So, what was the reading just before the game started?

According to the Bureau of Meteorology it was 27.9 in Kent Town.

As one friend, with his tongue firmly planted inside his cheek, said to me: you may as well build a snowman.

A screen capture of the WBGT at 5:07pm on Sunday, 8 December 2019:

A screen capture of the WBGT at 5:07pm on Sunday, 8 December 2019. Source: www.bom.gov.au/products/IDS65004.shtml

And the public, rightly, voted with its feet.

Only 6074 patrons walked through the doors – the third lowest attendance for an A-League game in Adelaide United’s history.

I’m not one for conspiracy theories.

But it’s hard not to think that Fox Sports knew more people would stay home and watch the game and hence viewer numbers would be higher.

Did the broadcaster’s influence over the governing body win the day? Probably.

If we are ever going to improve as a game, then surely decisions like postponing kick-off to a later time are logical.

Fans were vociferous in their protests against the 5:30pm start time in such hot conditions and, it seems, not one of the decision makers wanted to listen.

The weather, whilst still warm, was much more comfortable at 7:30pm.

What would have been lost by starting the game at that time?

Not much.

But the bigger question is: who won from the decision to start the game at 5:30pm?

Not the fans. Not Adelaide United. Not the players. Not the executives at FFA.

Nobody won.

Even the commentators on the Fox Sports coverage lamented the decision to play the game in the heat.

Yep, that’s right; the employees of one of the decision makers spoke out against the decision.

Comical.

How do we expect the naysayers to take us seriously when we can’t get one of the most basic decisions right.

As a father of three young children, my intention is to have them all signed up as Adelaide United members in the next few years.

I can’t afford four season tickets in the Western Grandstand – which is the only stand with cover.

But I have to be honest: I just can’t see myself taking my children to games in that type of weather.

And here lies the issue – I’m not the only one thinking like this.

How do we make attending games part of the ritual of a weekend if we keep doing our best to alienate people?

It’s easy to say that a new stadium should be built or Hindmarsh be renovated.

But that is a complex issue that would need, foremost, serious public or private investment or both.

That possibility, at this point in time, seems extremely unlikely.

Others will argue that the game should return to the winter months.

But having the A-League go head-to-head with the AFL, NRL and Rugby Union would be a death by a thousand cuts.

The solution is simple really: forget the WGBT.

If the forecast is suggests a hot, dry day, move the 5:30pm kick-off to 7:30pm.

It does not seem that hard.

Spiro Karanikos-Mimis is InDaily’s soccer columnist.

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