Wednesday, February 8, 2023
HomeSportsAustralian football community erupts over decision to gift Sydney A-League finals

Australian football community erupts over decision to gift Sydney A-League finals

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The A-League has today locked in a controversial deal with the NSW government, which will see the next three men’s and women’s grand finals be held in Sydney, rather than the traditional approach of awarding the final to the highest placing team. 

But a reported eight-figure contract with the NSW government’s tourism body will do away with that tradition, in order to hold the grand finals in the state’s capital, until at least 2025. 

Danny Townsend, the CEO of the A-Leagues, has insisted that this is a win for the sport, both due to the windfall it will receive, and an increased interest from fans, with Townsend comparing it to the English Premier League. 

“This is a unique opportunity to build a tradition for football fans,” Townsend said.

“When you think about a cup final in England, you think about the trip to Wembley, and we want fans in Australia to look forward to the A-Leagues finals in the same way.

“We are working with transport and accommodation providers to develop special packages for travelling fans, including our official hotel partner IHG who have committed to offer a special discounted rate to travelling fans.

“Because we have certainty about which city will be hosting the final from a long way out, we are able to build a ‘Festival of Football’ around these major events.”

But Australian football fans have been less than pleased with this announcement, with many accusing the A-Leagues of squandering a lot of the positive sentiment towards football built by the Socceroos in recent weeks, and for taking a cash grab at expense of the integrity of the sport. 

Concerns were also raised about the accessibility of the final for fans, especially for finals that could occur between two non-Sydney teams, with current travel prices extremely high and only continuing to rise. 

While no stadium has been confirmed for either the men’s or women’s final, dates have been locked in for both, with the women’s to be played on April 30, and the men on June 3; Townsend said that the A-Leagues will work in conjunction with the NSW Government to build a week-long festival of football. 


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