It's all about the A-League

It's all about the A-League

With the 2021-22 A-League season to kick-off on October 30th*, it was only natural that we should theme the September edition of Play On with our premier domestic competition.

This edition will be published around the same time that the ABC is likely to broadcast a 4 Corners program on the A-League and its foreign owners. It's an issue which former FFA Chairman, Steven Lowy, gave a speech about after his term was concluded.

As this 2018 analysis showed, the proportion of ‘Australian’ owners at 38.2% was in line with the proportion of homegrown owners of English Premier League clubs at 37.5% - not surprising in a sport that is the biggest on the planet.

Only one club has changed ownership since that time (Newcastle Jets) and, of course, two new Australian-owned clubs have been introduced. These changes shift the proportion of A-League club ownership to be majority Australian owned (56.8%), not that it matters one way or the other.

It is a basic tenet of good governance to have transparency around who owns a football club; sport should not have different standards to the rest of the economy. But neither should one sport be singled out for its foreign ownership when foreign investment occurs in every sector of the economy, with criteria for foreign investment managed by the Foreign Investment Review Board.

What we should be able to assess both the foreign AND local owners by is the:

  • who the owners are;

  • how the club is financed; and

  • whether the club is doing the right thing by the competition and the Australian football community.

 In this edition of Play On, Matthew Galea looks at 5 encouraging signs from the new broadcast deal, Stuart Thomas tells us why the A-League is better than we think, Jackson George says that youth is the key while Pablo Bateson takes a different tack saying that the A-League needs to gain some ‘tribal authenticity’, and I look at the unity that has kept the A-League together not only through the pandemic but also through the past five or so years. We look at goalkeepers Liam Reddy courtesy of Ben Somerford and Mat Ryan via George White, we have a fascinating outsider’s perspective of the A-League from Michael Renouf, and we conclude with a challenging extract from Dr Hunter Fujak’s book, Code Wars published earlier this year.

We hope you enjoy the read.

And here’s to a successful season for the A-League - Men, Women and Youth. Enjoy the football!

Play On is available as a downloadable PDF or via ISSUU for $5.99. You can purchase it here.

* The A-League Men and Women seasons were postponed to 19th November and 3rd December kick-offs respectively on 23 September.

Lockdown reads

A Lifetime of Learning