Sydney FC captain Alex Brosque has slammed the FFA for the drop in A-League crowds and says too much of their focus has been on congress issues rather than growing the game.
After last season's blistering start with an A-League record crowd of 61,880 at ANZ Stadium, the 2017/18 campaign has been plagued by poor TV ratings and dwindling attendances.
This was put into sharp focus during last weekend’s Sydney Derby when 35,000 fans attended and only 55,000 TV viewers tuned in on prime time TV to watch one of the A-League’s marquee fixtures.
The ongoing congress saga that has been raging between the A-League clubs, FFA and State Member Federations, has taken a toll on the game and Brosque says the governing body is the main culprit.
“I feel the FFA this year with all the stuff that has happened with FIFA has let the league down,” he said speaking exclusively to FourFourTwo.
“They could be doing a lot more for the game and getting people coming through the game and that hasn’t been done.
“It’s very frustrating as a player. All the turmoil and talk surrounding the game such as who is part of the FFA Board? Who will take over? Will FIFA step in? These are things we shouldn’t be talking about and worried about.”
The continuing off field issues have plagued the game for almost 12 months and Brosque feels it's getting to a point where the congress malaise is stealing the headlines from the football.
“It’s definitely disappointing because there have been weeks where all the talk has been on FIFA coming to Australia and FFA coming to taking over the FFA board,” he said.
“We all know how hard it is already in this country to get that exposure and media and when it’s for the wrong reasons and when it’s not being focused on the football it’s disappointing.
“Every club is doing what they can within their budget to promote the game and promote their team but really unless we start doing a lot more from a league perspective and really market the game and get the kids out there and do what they can to get people through the doors this was always going to happen.”
Brosque said the FFA's focus was away from the A-League adding the governing body hadn't been enagaed with fans this season.
“For me they don’t have the time to promote and market the league the way they should have," he said.
“So that is why you are seeing it in crowd numbers, which is disappointing because the league is doing well. Us here at Sydney FC are doing well and you’d like to see a lot more numbers coming through the gates.
“The league should be worried about trying to grow from year to year. Last year was a great year in the A-League in terms of crowds and football.
“We recently got a new TV deal with Fox Sports where they signed a record deal and that money should be put forward to market and grow the league and get more numbers and there really is no reason that this year crowds are down across the league.”