Report: A-League to continue through Asian CupPosted: February 13, 2014
Reports have emerged today that the A-League may not come to a complete stop for next summers Asian Cup. FFA Head of A-League Damian de Bohum today hinted that the domestic competition and the regional showpiece may run concurrently, at least in part. The FFA then released a further statement denying the schedule for next season had already been confirmed and that discussions were ongoing.
From a Brisbane perspective, this tournament already figures to be a hindrance given their home stadium figures to be out of action for several weeks during the season. That however is nothing new given the stadiums propensity to host concerts during the season anyway, including another one next week. Infact in some ways it could be a blessing if the club could get a stack of home games at the end of the season again to avoid additional travel in what figures to be the clubs second Champions League campaign. In addition to stadium availability issues, there’s also the chance that several Brisbane players will feature in the tournament. Already Ivan Franjic and Matt McKay are apart of the Socceroos setup, while others including Luke Brattan, Matt Smith and Jade North are possibilities to be included.
The 2015 Asian Cup runs from January 9-31, and will see matches in Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne. That rules out Lang Park and the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium from hosting games until the end of the quarter finals on January 23. Hunter Stadium in Newcastle meanwhile is out of action until the end of the tournament however having been designated to host one semi-final, and the 3rd placed playoff. With Homebush being the only Sydney venue, A-League games could still be hosted in Perth, Adelaide, Gosford, Sydney Football Stadium, Parramatta, Docklands and Wellington. From that sense, it does seem possible and plausible to continue the season, but is that the best idea? It is also worth remembering that the 50 over Cricket World Cup is set to be hosted in Australia in February 2015 which would take some media attention away from the A-League. Ultimately I could see the A-League taking a couple of weeks off over the group stages, before resuming later in the month, possibly the weekend after the group stage, or even restarting with the FFA Cup final on Australia Day.