Former Fox Sports commentator Simon Hill says the A-League shouldn’t measure itself against other football codes, rather it should focus on Asia as it moves to a winter competition.
With this in mind, Hill believes the A-League moving to winter is a perfect platform to realign the competition with Australia’s grassroots and Asia’s leagues.
“We can’t predicate everything on what those other football codes do,” Hill, now an A-League commentator with SEN Football Nation radio in Melbourne told FTBL.
“We’ve got to have enough confidence in our game to stand up and say, ‘look we’re gonna play the A-League at this time of the year and we don’t care what you’re doing.’
“And the other argument of course is that a winter A-League aligns with Asia, which is our future.
“And allied with that, of course, is we’ve got a winter FIFA Men's World Cup coming up in Qatar in 2022.
“Also, maybe this gives our A-League teams a better chance in the Asian Champions League and aligns our calendar with Asia more broadly.
“That’s what we need the A-League to be measured against, not rugby league AFL not the Premier League.
“The A-League will never be the EPL, but we need to start focusing on our football in our region and what’s best for our game.
“For those reasons alone I think winter A-League is worth a try.”
With the current A-League season due to finish next month following the COVID recess, A-League season 2020/21 will kick off in December and finish in July 2021.
This will pave the way for a new “winter” A-League to kick off in 2022 from Feb/March till Oct/Nov.
It’s hoped this alignment and the benefits it will bring - as well as the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand - will be the springboard for a rebirth in the A-League and football more broadly in the recovery years post-COVID.
“Winter A-League also aligns with the NPL seasons, but if we’re going to have a second division and promotion-relegation from the A-League - which everyone seems to want - you can’t have a semi-pro game in winter and then a professional game in summer.
“How would that work for A-League promotion and relegation?” Hill argues.
“This is the chance to try something different.
“And I know the arguments against it and I know we tried it years ago and I know that the AFL and NRL have got their seasons in winter and everyone’s talking about the pitches and coverage.
“Well, what about the pitches now? What about the coverage now?
“Ultimately I’d like to see promotion and relegation with all football tiers linked. That’s the key to everything.