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Western Sydney Wanderers

Matches, Team, Around The Bloc Podcast

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    • A-League cash crisis could bring opportunity for whole of game shake-up The coronavirus pandemic has hit Australia's cash-strapped A-League clubs hard but the financial shortfalls that COVID-19 has brought also represent an opportunity to reimagine the sport in this country, says leading administrator Nick Galatas. The crisis could accelerate plans to introduce promotion and relegation and a fully integrated pyramid system at state and national levels, says the man who is chairman of the Australian Association of Football Clubs (AAFC), the body representing NPL clubs in Australia ''I see it as an opportunity for the game to be recalibrated in a manner which reflects the real support and the real position in the community which the game holds – rather than an arbitrary level that was set some time ago which doesn't reflect the reality,'' Galatas says. A lawyer and former chairman of one-time NSL powerhouse South Melbourne, Galatas is part of the FFA's steering committee charged with creating the platform for a national second division, which was earmarked to kick off in the 2021-22 season. He acknowledges that might be delayed for a period now but insists that the current crisis is also a chance to re-examine the professional game and the whole integrated structure of soccer in this country. This is particularly the case if the economic model underpinning the A-League contracts if broadcaster Fox Sports walks away from the game because of its own financial uncertainty. If the cost base for the top-tier clubs shrinks dramatically – as many suspect it will with talk of the salary cap being halved for the next season – then the differential between the A-League clubs and the largest second-tier NPL teams will be nowhere near as great as it is at the moment. That makes the prospect of relegation to the second level much less challenging as it might otherwise have been, he argues. In turn that should facilitate the way for the changes to be made sooner rather than later, lessening the argument of A-League club owners that their revenue streams will diminish if they drop to a second-tier competition. ''I think that the linking of the game now, the continuum of clubs from the richest and the biggest down to the lower ones is going to become much more connected and organic than the system that we have currently,'' he said. ''That was artificially maintained. You had the bigger clubs outside the A-League [in Victoria leading NPL teams like South Melbourne, Bentleigh Greens, Heidelberg, Melbourne Knights] forced into smaller state leagues which ensured they were unable to grow and aspire to become bigger by moving into the top division. ''And the top-tier clubs have been artificially preserved at the highest level. ''If the top tier is redeveloped in conjunction perhaps with a new broadcasting deal, if it's needed, and then restructured with a different financial model in place then I see as part of that an opportunity to introduce the second tier and work in promotion and relegation. I think a new broadcast partner might see value in it.''
    • "There is nothing that is wrong In wanting you to stay here with me I know you've got somewhere to go But won't you make yourself at home and stay with me? And don't you ever leave"   #stayathome      
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