A-League kingpin Paul Lederer is “super positive” the looming domestic season will sizzle rather than fizzle, whilst admitting a delayed late November kick-off is on the cards.
The Western Sydney Wanderers boss also doubles up as chairman of the Australian Professional Football Clubs Association (APFCA), which now calls the shots in running the competition.
And with the $200 million TV rights deal with Channel 10 locked away, and further venture capital investment close to be realised, the billionaire businessman is feeling bullish.
The nation's vaccination rate and state government border protocols have shelved an October start date.
But an upbeat Lederer told FTBL: “It’s going to be a super positive season, I’m quite sure about it.
“We have the TV rights in place - It’s looking better than it ever has.
“I’m very confident about that.
"We have a great board of directors (at the A-League helm), great management and great people working for us. It’s all positive.
“Football has a hell of a lot to look forward to this season. We want to see crowds back - that will be the game changer for me.”
As authorities look at vaccine passports and Covid-tested fans being eligible to enter stadiums come November, Lederer believes society at large cannot weather many more long-term lockdowns.
“We don’t want any more games behind closed doors - I personally think the government has no option but to open up,” he added.
“There’s no question you have to get to 70 or 80 per cent of people vaccinated, that’s understood.
“But once you reach those sorts of levels you have to lift restrictions - there’s no other way.
“Do you keep things locked down forever? That’s not realistic.”
Lederer is currently in Venice on business, and catching up on some football viewing in Europe while he’s at, on a continent that has largely moved past lockdowns and opened the gates to fans this season.
“We all have to learn to live and adapt (to the presence of Covid) and get on with things,”he added.
“I’m sure Australia will soon be open also, there’s no choice.”
Lederer remained coy over the identity of a lurking venture capitalist group poised to inject several millions more in to the competition’s coffers.
“That’s a work in progress but it’s going to happen,” he said.
“I can’t say too much more at this stage.”