The Socceroos' Golden Generation have become the lightning rod for a much-needed discussion over proposed changes to the structure of the A-League and football in Australia.
Promotion and relegation between A-League to the second division
Pros: Proponents believe this will be a unique selling point for the A-League, with promotion and relegation playoffs giving the league both excitement boosts and a European style improvement in players' standards with more opportunities for coaches.
Cons: This idea could only really work if the game was aligned (see earlier point) playing from March to November.
Verdict: There’s still a lot to be worked out in terms of the financial model, the geographic selection basis, cost of staffing, how to select the clubs, and the levels of professionalism at each club.
Will it happen? 50% chance within the next two years.
A-League reserve competition (A2)
Fee-free grassroots football post-COVID 19
Australians are doing it tough. Unemployment has skyrocketed.
The economy could be in a recession for a few years as we deal with the fallout from the COVID-19 situation.
Pros: Is it time to offer registration relief for a two-year trial period? With the plan reviewed over time?
This idea is for fees to be replaced by a modest single membership fee (or family membership) with members assisting the club as a way of offsetting the loss of revenue from registrations.
So, aside from social cohesion and inclusivity outcomes and benefits, this will allow football to take advantage of the expected population boom at the grassroots level.
As an example, in 2017, Balga Soccer Club in Perth implemented a fee-free model for players aged between five and 18.
Club president Ken Shorto stated publicly that since the change came in, his club had doubled the number of registered players — with the vast majority being newly arrived migrant families.
According to pre-COVID data will be key drivers of our population growth in the next 20 years.
Cons: Potential revenue shortfall.
Verdict: Smart idea. It’s preferable to have these ‘members' in our system rather than forced away by costs and playing other sports that offer cheaper registrations.