Saturday, 19 January 2013

The Off-Field War: Another Front

Last week (was it just last week?) we posted a long piece full of charts, data and published opinion that suggested football was split between those that have resource to drive performance, and those that don't.
The subtext of the post was that of you split the competition along those lines, then you run the risk of the competition falling into the format of the EPL, La Liga, or Serie A. Where only a few teams have genuine chances to win, and those that don't get relegated.
Australian football (i.e. AFL football) doesn't have relegation, but it could still (and may already) have teams and clubs that belong to the 'haves' and 'have nots'.

Another article in The Age today also discussed and highlighted differences in clubs on financial bases... only this time, its the A-League.
Please read Michael Lynch's report, here.
Some clubs more equal than others
ALL animals are equal. With a salary cap, restrictions on squad sizes, mandatory rulings on the number of young players that must be included on a team's roster, and limits on the number of foreign players who can be signed, the rules are designed to ensure that all the beasts of the A-League compete on level terms.
But some, it has to be said, are more equal than others.
Interestingly, the A-League administrators have followed the AFL (in some respects such as the salary cap) to ensure a level playing field, but with a global sport, and the demands on players that such a dynamic entails, they also modified their laws.

Allowing 'marquee players', as in internationals, Australians and juniors, to be paid outside the cap along with guest and replacement players, the A-League has allowed for cashed-up clubs to dominate.

Of course, the A-League is walking a tougher path when it comes to player retention, and the non-cap included payments are understandable. But will this come at the cost of creating a competition where only the big market, big money teams have any real chance of success?
Have we already seen the start of this devolution, even just this evening?

Watching A-League season 8 and onward will be and interesting view of sport evolution.
And will the AFL administrators also be watching and learning?

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