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    The A-League Is Shut Down


    mack

    The A-League has been shut down as a result of Australia wide lockdowns & border closures.

    A week and a half after the A-League went behind closed doors, the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has forced Governments across the world to issue severe public restrictions on public gatherings, which have lead to suspensions of all levels of sport, which now includes the A-League. Multiple States have closed their borders and asked all but essential services to shut down, with the situation in New Zealand also playing a role with the Wellington Phoenix potentially stuck in Australia for 6 months if they had remained here beyond this week.

    The A-League had attempted to go on, including playing games behind closed doors and planning to complete the season in Sydney alone. These games and plans appear all for nought, as the rapid spread forced the closure of the league despite attempts by Fox Sports to threaten to cancel the A-League broadcast deal should it occur. No reopening date has been set due to the rapidly changing situation.

    If the closure goes on long enough to see the season ended as it currently stands, there may be a 7 month wait before the top flight of Australian football begins again in this coming October.

    Edited by mack

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    1 hour ago, papersun said:

    Anyone know if our 5 foreign players are all still in Australia?  There's been a few already calling it quits and returning home, seems like Wuthrich from Perth the latest to leave.

    I think I read on the Wellington forum that Scwegler had returned home.

    How many of them do you think will still be at the club next season?

     

    Hopefully both Muller and Schwegler stay. Cox and Lopar are already contracted. I'm a bit so-so on Zeigler.

    It's been remarkably quiet on player movement tbh. I think clubs and players are in a wait and see mode.

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    1 hour ago, sonar said:

    Hopefully both Muller and Schwegler stay. Cox and Lopar are already contracted. I'm a bit so-so on Zeigler.

    It's been remarkably quiet on player movement tbh. I think clubs and players are in a wait and see mode.

    Some players have gone home like Cox but from what i've heard they should all return. Most players are having to wait until the end of the season to decide contracts, especially younger players such as Sullivan. Muller is still in the country, not sure about Pirmin but it sounds like he is still here.

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    Does Majewski still have another season left on his contract?

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    I don't think so. What's weird is that he wasn't likely to have recovered from his ACL in time to play this season. With the long lay off it's possible he can come back.

    Which could mean Muller has to leave because he's only signed on an injury replacement contract.

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    55 minutes ago, GE942150 said:

    Does Majewski still have another season left on his contract?

    No, however he apparently had a clause in his contract that said if he played a certain amount of games he could trigger and automatic extension. Obviously he hasn't reached that limit, but with his contract finishing soon, likely before the season restarts, its up to the club to decide whether he or Muller stays for the rest of the season. Muller also mentioned in an interview earlier this season that he is staying in Australia for two years so unless he goes back on that statement, it could suggest he will re-sign for a further season rather than Majewski. 

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    42 minutes ago, THEWANDERERSPOST said:

    No, however he apparently had a clause in his contract that said if he played a certain amount of games he could trigger and automatic extension. Obviously he hasn't reached that limit, but with his contract finishing soon, likely before the season restarts, its up to the club to decide whether he or Muller stays for the rest of the season. Muller also mentioned in an interview earlier this season that he is staying in Australia for two years so unless he goes back on that statement, it could suggest he will re-sign for a further season rather than Majewski. 

    It's a shame we never got to really see how good he could have been. I don't think the ffa cup games were enough to judge him on.

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    I don't know what thread this goes in, so I'll just put it in here.

     

    FFA suffers $6m hit after losing major A-League sponsor Hyundai

     

    Cash-strapped Football Federation Australia is set to suffer a further $6 million blow to its bottom line next season after losing major sponsor Hyundai.

    The Korean car manufacturer will end its 15-year partnership with Australian football after this season's delayed A-League grand final. Hyundai chose not to renew the naming rights deal, which it has held since the league's inception in 2005, leaving FFA in the unenviable position of searching for a new major sponsor in the midst of an economic downturn.

    It is the latest in a series of financial blows for the organisation, which has lost three other sponsors in the past year and is facing the prospect of broadcaster Fox Sports walking away from its TV deal, worth close to $60m a year.

    Hyundai did not comment when contacted by the Herald on Tuesday, but sources close to the deal suggest the announcement of the end of the partnership will be made in the coming weeks. A-League sources suggest they were informed of Hyundai's decision several weeks ago, before businesses went into lockdown in March, and have already begun searching for a new naming-rights partner. FFA remained tight-lipped on its partnership with Hyundai but confirmed it is looking for new corporate partners.

    “Football Federation Australia has enjoyed a great, whole of game partnership with Hyundai over the past 15 years. FFA remains in continued commercial discussions with the company regarding their long and significant commitment to the game from the grassroots to elite levels. As these discussions remain ongoing, FFA cannot provide specific comment," an FFA spokesperson said.

    “However, despite the impact of COVID-19, FFA can confirm that it is in discussions with numerous commercial partners – existing and prospective – about supporting the re-emergence of football at the professional and grassroots levels, and has been buoyed by the positive sentiment in the market.”

    Who that will be remains to be seen, however Hyundai will continue its support through until the end of the season, despite its contract officially ending on June 30. Sources suggest FFA and Hyundai have agreed to a short-term extension of the deal to cover the remainder of the delayed season, up until a likely grand final that is set to be held no later than August 30.

    The value of Hyundai's sponsorship of the A-League has risen to nearly $5m a year, with the car company tipping in another $1m to sponsor Australia's national teams, contributing a total of $6m to FFA's coffers, not including the provision of almost 80 cars each year to the FFA and A-League clubs. It is the FFA's second-most valuable corporate partnership, after their broadcast deal with Foxtel.

    While COVID-19 has caused a financial crisis for several industries, Hyundai's decision not to renew its sponsorship was made before it brought businesses to a standstill in Australia. A-League clubs were warned in February not to design jerseys with the logo of Hyundai due to uncertainty about the future of the partnership.

     

    Public interest in the A-League has dropped significantly during the past two years while the motor vehicle industry was experiencing poor financial results well before the pandemic struck. The impending loss of Hyundai follows the departure of three other key FFA sponsors in the past 12 months.

    German supermarket giant Aldi was the naming-rights sponsor of Australia's junior football program, Miniroos, but chose not to renew its deal beyond its expiration in December 2019. The Socceroos are without a major partner after Caltex did not renew its sponsorship, while NAB bank ended its long-term sponsorship of FFA and the A-League last year.

    NAB and Caltex had close ties with two former FFA administrators. Former NAB executive Joseph Healy and Caltex chief financial officer Simon Hepworth served on the FFA board lead by former chairman Steven Lowy

    Edited by WHACKO

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    Hearing ANZ and another unnamed company are in the mix to replace Hyundai. Deal could be worth even more than $6m so not all bad.

    Edit: The discussions were prior to COVID do not sure what effect that now has on it.

    Edited by hughsey

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    SMITHIES ALERT

    A-League players asked to accept massive 80 per cent pay cut to finish off rest of the season.

    A-League players have been asked to take a pay cut of around 80% to complete this season, as the brutal financial realities created by the coronavirus epidemic take hold.

    Sparking anger among the A-League players, the controversial proposal threatens to stymie efforts to establish a timetable to resume playing and complete the suspended season by the end of August.

    Under a financial model put forward by Football Federation Australia, the governing body intends to keep almost all of the near $12 million FFA received from Fox Sports three weeks ago as the quarterly payment on its broadcast deal.

    Normally each of the 11 clubs would receive around $800,000 every quarter from FFA, but the clubs have been told they will get a combined figure of less than $2 million if the offer on the table is ratified.

    With little more than a week until players’ contracts expire at the end of May, at which point a number become free agents or switch clubs, there is mounting pressure to complete a deal before then and put in place contract extensions to cover the rest of the season.

    Under the proposed share out, FFA will keep $5.7 million from the Fox Sports money, plus a further $2 million for national team funding.

    Another $2 million will be kept to pay for the so-called hub, the centralised venue where all players will stay and play the games required to complete the A-League season. Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are all under consideration to host the hub.

    That leaves less than $2 million for player payments, compared with the $8.8m normally distributed to the clubs each quarter.

    Compounding the uncertainty, there is no pay deal in place for next season, amid huge uncertainty over the Fox Sports deal which runs for another three seasons.

    All sports are expected to have to renegotiate their broadcast contracts thanks to the massive dislocation caused by the coronavirus, but the players have expressed concern over being asked to take a major pay cut now with no clarity over what future seasons will involve.

    AFL players have agreed to take a 50% pay cut in the short term, and either 50% or 70% for the rest of the season depending on when games are recommenced.

    A senior club source told The Daily Telegraph that clubs need to be briefed on why FFA wants to keep hold of the money, which relates to the first quarter of this year.

    “As things stand we’re OK in hibernation, but all sorts of costs will be involved once we try to scale back up and prepare to play games again,” the source said.

    Jon Didulica, chief executive of the players’ association, said: “This has been an incredibly challenging period for individual players and their absolute focus now is on returning to team training at the earliest possible opportunity.

    “The PFA’s focus is on ensuring that the training and playing environment for their return is as safe as possible, given the prospect of increased exposure to contracting COVID-19 and the potential long-term health impact on athletes who contract it.

    “We believe in the sport, we believe in the league and want to put what happens on our pitches – football – back at the heart of our game.”

    FFA has been approached for comment.

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    2 hours ago, mack said:

    SMITHIES ALERT

    :lol:

    Thanks Mack :good:

    It’s a tough one, simplistically the players haven’t been paid their wages from April & May with the season/contracts ending 31 May. With Foxtel paying it’s last installment, it should cover the training in July & games in August.

    However it isn’t as simple as that: you think with most clubs revenues will be savaged, they’ll have to put through refunds for members & sponsors. Plus next season, revenues will be wiped out for both sponsors & members.

    Now factor in that Foxtel want to renegotiate the contract for next season, how that factors in? Making the players play with an 80% pay cut is ludicrous but how do we make this work?

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    3 hours ago, mack said:

    That leaves less than $2 million for player payments, compared with the $8.8m normally distributed to the clubs each quarter.

    Does this mean that clubs can pay in addition to $2m allocated to players salaries? We know not all clubs have stopped paying salaries during this time (I count six thus far) & for many of those clubs the salary cap only counts for a partial amount of revenues (for Easts & Victory it’s 20-30%).

    3 hours ago, mack said:

    All sports are expected to have to renegotiate their broadcast contracts thanks to the massive dislocation caused by the coronavirus

    I suspect this is causing the most amount of grief, how we move forward and play? Now?

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    Smithies warning

    AL + Community Football in NSW

    A-League 2020 restart: 36 days of non-stop football to finish the season

    Tom Smithies, Football Editor, The Daily Telegraph

    May 26, 2020 8:15pm

    Subscriber only

    Why one state could have hub jump on rivals

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    The A-League season would be finished in a blizzard of 36 days of almost continuous football, under a resumption plan put forward to clubs and TV broadcasters. 

    The remaining rounds and finals series would begin on July 18 with the grand final slated for August 22, as part of the schedule which requires the agreement of Fox Sports and the conclusion of a pay deal with players to cover the extra three months needed to finish the season.

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    The A-League has been suspended since Newcastle played Melbourne City in late March.

    The games would all be played in a single hub, based in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane, with players based locally for the duration – playing 32 games in 36 days, including the 27 outstanding league games plus five finals.

    But it seems certain that the games will be played in empty stadiums, despite the NRL’s hopes of bringing some form of crowds back to games from the start of July.

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    Clubs say they do not expect sporting events to have crowds permitted in time for the remainder of this season, though A-League bosses will be guided by the prevailing medical regulations at the time.

    A-League followers have been waiting for details of the competition’s resumption, with the NRL coming back this week and the AFL slated for a restart on June 11.

    Challenging times for Football Federation Australia chief executive James Johnson.

    If the A-League schedule is approved by Fox Sports, the final hurdle would be to agree a pay deal with the players association and the A-League clubs. Though the players reacted with anger to an offer from FFA last week which could involve a significant reduction for the three months in question, several sources say there is the willingness to conclude a deal quickly.

    MORE FOOTBALL

    COUP: WHY ONE STATE COULD HAVE A-LEAGUE HUB JUMP ON RIVALS

    Squads would then return to pre-season in the first half of June – though the exact make-up of those squads remains to be seen, with more than 100 players due to come off contract as of next Monday.

    That deadline has cast a lengthening shadow over discussions with the players, given the legal minefield associated with trying to keep players at the clubs they were playing for before the competition’s suspension once their contracts have expired.

    Johnson has to negotiate a pay deal for the rest of the season. Picture: Getty Images

    As well as the pay, various points of contention have to be settled, including the question of whether players could be able to opt out of any mass extension of contracts for three months, and the level of health and hygiene measures observed at each club.

    But perhaps the biggest issue will be the lack of clarity over what next season’s competition finances will look like. All sports are in the process of renegotiating broadcast deals in the wake of the damage caused by the coronavirus to the economy, and sponsorship income has dried up.

    FFA will have to renegotiate the remaining three years on its broadcast deal with Fox Sports, reducing the current value of $57m a year, and then agree a revamped salary cap with the A-League players dependent on how significant that reduction proves to be.

    HOPES RISE OF JULY KICK-OFF FOR PARK FOOTBALL

    Junior football will finally start playing matches at the start of July if state government health chiefs give the green light to plans for a truncated season.

    Football NSW has sought permission from the state government for full-contact training and competitive matches to be allowed from July 1, as part of the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

    It’s likely that junior football would be able to begin games immediately if approval is granted, from the weekend of July 4/5, but older age groups and adults may be asked to conduct one or two full-contact training sessions before playing competitive games.

    As part of widespread efforts to maximise what is left of the season, Football NSW is part of a group of winter sports negotiating with their summer counterparts to get access to playing fields until later in the year than normal – potentially until early to mid-October.

    That would allow a season of around 3.5 months, roughly six weeks shorter than normal, as clubs and associations try to maximise what remains of the coronavirus-ravaged grassroots sports environment.

    Junior football hopes to be back in July. Picture: AAP / Troy Snook

    Though Football NSW mandated a return to training last week – under strict conditions around hygiene and social distancing – many clubs are still waiting for the green light from local associations and councils.

    As of now, training has to be in groups of no more than 10, including coaches, on areas of at least a quarter pitch, there can be no socialising before or after sessions and a strict protocol around hygiene, washing balls etc has been put in place.

    Clubs are also being required to keep a record of anyone attending training, with parents asked for only the bare minimum number of adults to be present – ideally waiting in their cars during training sessions.

    Under Football NSW’s submission to the government, which follows the AIS Guidelines for the resumption of community sport, the limit of 10 people in each training group would be lifted, though the guidelines suggest that sport should “consider maintaining some small group separation at training”.

    The response is likely to be guided in part by the broader status of societal restrictions, as the government slowly reduces the lockdown imposed in March.

    Stuart Hodge, CEO of Football NSW, confirmed that a submission had been made for a resumption of games from the start of July, with talks continuing over extending the season beyond its normal finish in late August.

    “Football NSW lifted the temporary suspension of football to permit training so long as it adheres to the Public Health Order,” Hodge said. “The next step we have taken is to submit to the government a proposal that would permit full training and matches from 1 July onwards.

    “Football and the other winter sports are working with the summer sports to extend the period of field usage so that our seasons can run onto October.”

     

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    SBS are saying that Fox Sports are refusing to allow the restart unless the FFA accept Fox Sports cutting the rights deal by 50%, costing FFA about $85 million over the remaining 3 years of the deal.

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    We really need to get out of this Fox deal asap. The obvious scenario is signing with Optus and paying for broadcasting. Perhaps give a game a week away to SBS to keep an FTA presence. The Optus deal might not even be worth the 50% deal Fox is offering, but they'd treat the league better than the utter disdain Fox is doing.

    Not sure if we pull the plug with Fox whether there is legal ramifications as part of the contract though? And if Fox want to renegotiate on drastically reduced terms, do we have the possibility to walk away without legal consequences?

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    Its better to walk away from Fox its been dying since Netflix and Stan came to the show, and its only getting worse. A-league has been suffering since EPL left and people start questioning the worth of foxtel. Unfortunately for now we have stick through because everyone is hurting and I doubt Optus or DAZN will want to have a look at A-league as I am sure they are also hurting. The change we have been barracking for has come too late and its all about saving what is left now.

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    A-League restart could be stymied by Fox demand for rights fee cut

    By Michael Lynch and Vince Rugari

    May 27, 2020 — 5.32pm

    The A-League's planned resumption is being held up by Fox Sports, which will only agree to broadcast the final rounds of the season if Football Federation Australia accepts a dramatic reduction in broadcast rights fees for the next three years.

    The competition is poised to kick off again in mid-July, with players having agreed new deals to cover the unprecedented circumstances and club owners falling into line behind a restart.

    The only fly in the ointment is Fox, which is insisting that its $57.6 million-a-year rights deal is slashed by what soccer sources indicate could be between 50 and 70 per cent for the remaining three years of its six-year deal.

     

    The A-League hopes to resume in mid-July.

    Photo: Getty Images

    FFA bosses and club chiefs were involved in a telephone hook-up on Wednesday afternoon as talks with the players' union, the PFA, were close to nailing an agreement under which players would return to action with pay cuts as a result of the pandemic. Short-term contract extensions are also required, since many player deals will expire on Monday.

    Sources said that Fox could stymie the resumption and was using the situation as leverage to renegotiate a deal it feels is far too onerous given the changed economic circumstances and the poor ratings the A-League has generated in recent seasons.

     

    With the NRL due to begin again on Thursday evening and the AFL set to restart on June 11, soccer fans had been growing increasingly impatient about the lack of movement for the A-League, which has only a handful of regular-season rounds plus finals to complete the 2019-20 campaign.

    A soccer insider with knowledge of the negotiations said: ''There's a reason why we have not moved as quickly as other sports ... working through the players' contracts was never an issue.

    ''We have to be strong as a game.''

    Football officials are confident that the game is ready to go with venues lined up, players in agreement and protocols to protect all involved against coronavirus lined up.

    Fox had delayed paying the final instalment of its last tranche of funding for this season but eventually did so, meaning the A-League was under pressure to complete the season.

     

     

    The Pay-TV company is heavily in debt and under enormous financial pressure.

    Rights deals and payments for sports content are the subject of renegotiation across a wide range of sports, including the behemoths that are the AFL and the NRL, so it is little surprise that A-League rights would also come under the microscope.

    The PFA and the A-League clubs, through their representative Paul Lederer, had feared that Fox would use COVID-19 as an excuse to either abandon the game or low-ball the sport with a heavily reduced rights deal.

    Their concerns appear to have come true, while the developments may also bring forward contingency planning that had been ongoing for the A-League's broadcast future beyond Fox.

    The intention is to play out the A-League season in just over a month, with the grand final to be held on August 22.

     

    Sydney is expected to be the hub from which the competition will be run, although the Melbourne clubs - Western United, Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City - will fulfil fixtures between themselves in Victoria before heading to NSW.

    Western United must still play Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City, and both those games will take place at AAMI Park. United's fixture against City was originally scheduled to be played at Geelong's GMHBA Stadium but the club is prepared to cede home-ground advantage in the interests of expediency.

    City sit second on the league table, eight points behind runaway leaders Sydney, who have three games in hand.

    Western United are locked in a battle for sixth position with Adelaide, Western Sydney and Newcastle.

    Victory are second-bottom and their chances of making the play-offs look virtually non-existent.

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    They're in a death spiral. They took too long to adapt to stream (and did it badly for a long time) and will not have enough cash to retain a lot of rights deals for sport or other content, which will push people further away.

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    26 minutes ago, mack said:

    They're in a death spiral. They took too long to adapt to stream (and did it badly for a long time) and will not have enough cash to retain a lot of rights deals for sport or other content, which will push people further away.

    Yep

    But that's digital disruption, it's hard for the old companies to adapt, as they don't want to canibilise their own cashflow by launching cheaper products. If Foxtel went early they would have gained streaming customers but a large chunk would have been their own Foxtel customers, so converting a $80/month customer to a $15/month one. So they delayed fought it as long as they could, did a couple of half arsed attempts (Presto / Foxtel Now) and tried to delay the inevitible. 

    The revolution has come and now they are against the wall.

    The Foxtel Binge will be too little too late, it's only chance is to be able to hang on to the rights to HBO stuff, and that won't be cheap when HBO could just launch their own streaming service in Australia.

    Sport is all they have but you can't run it on a model that is based around having $80-$100 a month subscribers. People won't pay it anymore.

    The A League / NRL and AFL mirros the foxtel position, do you cling on to the old model for as long as you can or do you try and get in early on the next wave.

    Arguably the NRL has the most to lose. They are totally reliant on the old world of Cable and FTA linear TV deals. 

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    5 hours ago, GE942150 said:

    Disappointed about losing Schwegler.

    Not as dissappotined as I should be, he looked boss pre-season, but after that he was good, but not dominant

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    FFA, Clubs & Players agreed to a mid-June return to training, matches to start in mid-July with the finals done by mid-August.

    Behind closed doors hub approach seems to be locked in, although which city isn't confirmed (probably Victoria or NSW I imagine).

    Still waiting for Foxtel to make an announcement.

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    2 hours ago, Edinburgh said:

    $57m question- Will Fox come to the party

    Yeh sure, they’ll let us play. As long as we take a 50-70% cut to the tv deal. (That’s between 17.1 & 28.5m, that’s a hefty cut)

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