Monday, April 20, 2009
The Stupidity of Six
Any league in which a team from the lower half of the table can potentially win the competition, with a few good results in a one-off finals series, rates pretty low in the integrity stakes. The motives of the FFA are quite understandable, the main one being the concern about sharp drop-offs in gate revenue once a team has no chance of making the finals. But there's the top half of the table to consider as well, and the fact that finishing in third place is now only marginally more advantageous than scraping into sixth will cause gnashing of teeth aplenty come January.
The A-League is still a young league, and there must, of course, be a judicious balance between competitive purity and fan appeasement. But a six-team finals series goes way too far towards the latter extreme.
Continuing with the four-team system was, presumably, considered likely to produce too many dead games. Fair enough. But the logical response to this problem would have been to introduce the mathematically elegant, and eminently fair, five-team structure (check the first comment on this post - Shane Davis on the money once again).
Instead the A-League has been saddled with an unbalanced, cack-handed coda which will ultimately produce confusion and anger among the fans, and quite possibly derision from the other codes.
The FFA have blundered badly on this one.
One accidental by-product might see that we see the "premiership" increase in value in the eyes of real HAL fans, as that will be the surest and fairest way to qualify for Asia, which is the real prize IMO.
But Australians just accept whatever's dished up to them with out protest.
Why didn't fans of the games protest when the NSL was such an exclusionary basket case?
Look at the AFL where you NEVER hear of fans banding together to protest against any changes to any aspect of the game.
This is partly the result of the solidarity of Unionism being denigrated year after year to the point that only the individual counts.
Solidarity? Whats that?
If anyone really cared, they would BOYCOTT the final series.
The best thing the FFA could do would be to instigate a proper nationwide cup competition, including clubs from the state leagues, with the final rounds (perhaps semis and final) to be held after the A-League wraps up. This is just getting silly.
getting your hands on a ticket to asia early, getting results across the season (not just hitting form at the right time).
i don`t mind what they have done at all. and hope that eventually we will have a league and a cup of some kind ...
Top 6 final series = stupid. It should still be top 4, but ultimately what needs to happen is we must shift our emphasis on this AFL type of final series. I believe the football going public are ready already but the FFA, footballing media and mainstream media need to start focusing on making winning the league the focus of the A-league. The current terminology of "minor premiership" is wrong because coming first over the course of the season is a big deal!
The FFA should do away with the final series and instead have a FFA League Cup that could maybe be a home and away knockout tournament throughout the season that culminates in the final at the end of the year.
What do you reckon people?
'Cause it looks like we've got it, and have to do the best with it. And strategically, it might at least be an opportunity to develop the prestige of the Premiership. The finals become a sort of post-season cup which the bottom teams compete to not be excluded from. Whatever the FFA or the media reckon, the fans get the final say in what's important.
Played throughout the season (perhaps with state league teams and/or seeded based on current or last season's league position) and with semi-finals and final played after the season - home team to be determined by league position.
At the moment, the system works fine. It captures both elements.
I would add that the main reason I am against a finals series is that Football, as opposed to the other codes, is more prone to a team having a lucky win in a one off match. That is, the better team dominating play, having more shots on goal, having crucial decisions go against them, etc.
I do think this is a bit of a joke IF you consider the finals winner to be the winner of the League.
However the main issue is not how many teams is in the final but how much prestige is given to the winner who went past the post.
Now the winner past the post wins the Premiership and gets an ACL spot. However if they start to get prizemoney perhaps equal or more then the team that wins the final series and the football public starts seeing the premiers as the best team in the league than it wouldn't bother me how many teams are in the final as it will just be a defacto cup competition.
So I'm not too bother about the finals series. I'm just hoping that Football fans will just see it as a side competition that brings a little spectacle to the game and will acknowledge whoever wins the league as the best team in the competition.