FFA Cup launched in SydneyPosted: February 24, 2014
Today after months of speculation the FFA have officially launched the FFA Cup which will become Australia’s annual domestic cup linking the A-League to the local premier leagues and associations around the country. The preliminary qualification rounds for the local clubs are already underway, with round 2 across Brisbane set to take place starting next week.
After countless rumours on how the State League allocation would be made up, here’s the final allotment. The NSW Premier League will be the best represented with 7 teams, followed by Victoria and Queensland with 4 each. Western Australia and Northern New South Wales have 2 spots each, while South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT have 1 each. Northern Territory will enter in 2015, presumably with 1 spot. The decision here was based solely on numbers of registered players as has been mentioned in the past. Queensland’s 4 representatives will be determined by a knock-out cup which has already begun with the four semi-finalists entering the FFA Cup. I might do an update on that later.
Brisbane Roar –along with the other 9 A-League clubs- will enter the competition at the Round of 32, however who they may face will be determined based on finishing position in the A-League season. The top 4 teams in the finals series will play games against state league teams, while the six teams who don’t reach week two of the finals series will play off against each other. The seeding for the A-League clubs are to give them a fairer chance because the games are very early in their respective pre-seasons and also to avoid potential ACL clashes.
Continuing on to the final stages of the competition the final 16 teams will be thrown into a draw that will determine each team’s path to the final. Pot A will be the A-League teams, while Pot B will be the local league sides. The idea behind this is to create as many chances as possible for the local sides to create that upset win; although for mine I personally would have preferred an open draw. The draw will also mean that at least one local club will qualify for the semi-finals, so while the final may become an all A-League affair, there will be a chance for a local team to be in that final.
The semi-finals and finals are set to take place in November and December which does provide a significant disadvantage to the state league clubs who will be out of season, with the 2014 Final set for Tuesday December 16. That date however will change to a Saturday from 2015 onwards, with the Asian Cup in the way this time around. The final venue will be determined by the FFA after the semi-final round based on who has qualified and venue availability. The cynic in me says it’ll be in Sydney regardless but we shall see.
Few other points of interest coming from the draw:
– Despite earlier rumours they wouldn’t be involved, Wellington Phoenix will be in the Cup as they are an Australian registered club, and they are eligible to win the ACL spot on offer. All Wellington games will be in Australia.
– Ticket revenue goes to the host clubs which will provide a financial boost to the state league clubs who will always be at home against an A-League side. The FFA however will take the revenue from the final.
– In cases where two A-League or State League teams draw each other, the home teams will be determined by who is drawn first. As mentioned above, State League teams will always play at home if they are drawn to play an A-League side.
– Matches will be played on Tuesday nights wherever possible in an attempt to identify that as a night to watch football. With leagues games on the weekends and also competition in winter for primetime weekend slots on TV this makes sense.
– The cup will be broadcast on Fox Sports who will show a minimum of 10 games in the competition. These include the first game of the round of 32, two round of 16 fixtures, and all of the games in the final stages, including the final itself. They may also choose to broadcast additional early round games should they so desire. All nationally broadcast games will kick-off at 7.30pm Eastern.