Melbourne Knights have declared that the ongoing COVID-19 crisis represents Australian football’s moment to unite and move forward.
Though still one of the most famous names in Australian football, national exposure for the club has in recent years been restricted to the FFA Cup, with Knights knocked out in the Round of 32 of the 2019 iteration by eventual champions Adelaide United in front of 4087 fans at Knights Stadium.
The club has made no secret of its desire to return to the Australian football national scene; providing one of the loudest voices in support of the introduction of a second-tier below the A-League and the eventual introduction of promotion and relegation into the ecosystem.
It's a theme that continued in their letter.
“Only when our football ecosystem is fully connected, and each club allowed to participate on merit, will we have a fair system that allows us to heal, come together and advance as one,” Knights letter states.
“We know the A-League will be de-escalating cost bases dramatically next season to manageable levels. With it comes the opportunity for us all to re-connect our leagues.
“Ultimately, we must create the building blocks of a sport that doesn’t live TV deal-to-TV deal, but thrives – sustainably and responsibly – on the strength of its people. It is unrealistic in a nation such as ours, with so many professional sports, to be so dependent on a singular source of income from a media industry struggling to survive. If we rebuild with sound foundations, all that will come back, and so much more.
“Under the leadership of FFA Chief Executive James Johnson, we believe the opportunity has arrived for the A-League to break free of its artificial constraints. By fostering a National Second Division in the near and immediate future, and with a subsequent timetable for an orderly, sensible transition to promotion-relegation, the wheels of progress can finally start turning again.
“We believe, along with thousands of others – that once that transition comes to fruition, we can all start doing what we love: getting to games, supporting our team, buying memberships and being part of the sport that has all given us so much.
“The colour and life of Australian football will come flooding back, as will a whole new generation of fans, drawn to a thrilling spectacle that can’t be replicated in other sports.”