On 31 December 2020, the APL took over as the head body governing the professional leagues in Australia – the A-League, W-League and Y-League.
After many months, the long-mooted “unbundling” from Football Australia finally happened and was announced, somewhat ceremoniously, on the eve of a new year.
It symbolised a new beginning, change and a chance for all the things that need to be done to move the game forward to be handled by a body solely focussed on the success of the professional leagues.
The A-League lost Hyundai as a sponsor and Foxtel seems to have one foot out the door, so there’s much work for the APL to do.
But sometimes it’s the small stuff that can make the biggest splash.
APL Chair Paul Lederer faces an interesting conundrum this Saturday.
One of the biggest derbies in the league, Adelaide hosts the Victory in a fixture that always attracts a huge crowd and much attention.
The kick-off is scheduled for 6:30pm and the expected top temperature on Saturday is 39 degrees. I assume that, once again, we’ll need to get our abacuses to calculate the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature. But anything above 28 on the Wet Bulb will mean kick-off is delayed.
Adelaide United play two games in four days – away to Perth Glory on Wednesday and home to Victory on Saturday.
For an A-League team, that’s considered a tight turnaround. Factor in fatigue and heat and Adelaide is already at a disadvantage.
So here’s where the APL can show they’ve been listening to fans and establish a precedent for future issues that may arise.
Take away the uncertainty and simply move the start time.
Instead of playing Russian roulette with the Wet Bulb and hoping that the combined temperature and relative humidity is acceptable around kick-off time, the APL can simply announce the game will begin at 7:30pm Adelaide time.
If Foxtel causex a stink (they have a double-header broadcast on Saturday with Western United playing Perth in the game immediately before United) they can politely be reminded of all the shithousery they’ve put the game through in the last 12 months.
It really is a chance for the APL to put spectators first. It would be a small gesture that would go a long way.
The corporate dollar is very important for the success and longevity of our game and finding a naming rights sponsor and a good TV broadcast is crucial.
But bums on seats and fan satisfaction are also fundamental and without spectators (as we have learnt) the game is a different beast.
The APL has promised to be different. Let’s see how they handle this one.
And another thing…
Carl Veart made an interesting comment in a press conference a few weeks back. He pointed out that he doesn’t like making unnecessary changes to his starting 11.
It was sparked after a question as to whether George Timotheou would get a gig once fit.
With two games in four days coming up, Veart may have his hand forced and need to rotate his team.
The question is: if he does, which game does he choose?
Do you change things up for a Perth team that hasn’t played yet and has lost a gaggle of talented players in the hope that some of the bench players can get the job done?
Or do you lock in for three points in Perth and rotate against the Victory in the hope that the home crowd gives an edge?
An interesting conundrum indeed. Let’s see what the gaffer does.
It’s a busy week for the club as a whole, with three games in four days across all competitions. Here’s what’s happening:
- A-League at Perth Glory, Wednesday 20 January. 8:50pm kick-off.
- W-League versus Melbourne City, Thursday 21 January. 6:35pm kick-off. Marden Sports Complex.
- A-League versus Melbourne Victory, Saturday 23 January. 6:30 kick-off. Hindmarsh Stadium.
And one more thing…
There is big transfer news in the SA WNPL. Three of the most talented midfielders in the league are changing clubs.
Japanese sisters Yuka and Nano Sasaki have been poached by Adelaide Comets. The Sasakis have been a constant for Adelaide City over the last few years. InDaily understands that Nano was very close to getting a contract in the W-League with Adelaide United. The signings are a huge coup for Comets who have obviously decided to make a splash in the upcoming season.
2019 Shirley Brown Medallist Anna Pritchard also has a new home. She’s left West Adelaide Hellas to join Salisbury Inter. Pritchard is another super-talented footballer who controls the midfield with a lot of poise. She is a huge addition to the Inter team.
Spiro Karanikos-Mimis is InDaily’s soccer columnist.
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