Aussie soccer finally gets A-League - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Aussie soccer finally gets A-League

By Glenn Cullen 01/11/2004 08:02:36 PM Comments (0)

Australian soccer's great leap forward began with a baby step with the launch of the `A-League', a new national competition big on promise but currently a little short on detail.

The eight-team, 21-round competition with finals will kick off in August 2005, some 17 months after the demise of the National Soccer League.

There were no surprises when the make up of the `A-League' was confirmed: Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane (Lions), Central Coast, Melbourne (Victory), Newcastle, Perth and Sydney FC securing tenure for five years.

Backed by major sponsor Hyundai, overseen by master sports administrator John O'Neill and covered by pay television network Fox Sports, the `A-League' has been promoted as the new broom for the sport in Australia.

Far less specific was team detail however, with most team personnel, many coaches and playing strips yet to be determined.

O'Neill, recalling one of his favourite movies - `Field of Dreams' - remained confident now that the structure had been built the fans would come.

"We are well capitalised both at the ASA (Australian Soccer Association) and club level, we have a centrally planned way to market the game in which it has never been done before, we have committed sponsors particularly with Hyundai and we have a committed broadcaster.

"(It's) not a bad recipe.

"Now we need the clubs to put together their teams and their coaches ..."

The ASA was forecasting aggregate crowds in the first season of 1 million - an average of 10,000 per game - leading to a financial turnover of $50 million in the first year.

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