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The Australian FFA Cup: The Bitter Cup

I suppose it was only a matter of time before an article such as this emerged.

The idea, of course, is enormously tempting. Many fans of the old NSL like nothing better than to belittle the standard of the A-League, contemptuously dismissing even the better sides as by no means comparable with the great NSL sides of the mid-nineties. And even now, there are those who will claim that the more decorated state league sides – even in their current, emaciated incarnations – would knock off the “plastic” A-League teams, given half a chance.

Bring it on, then? Well…there are a few problems.

Firstly and most obviously, the A-League and state league seasons do not align, as I’ve pointed out on this blog many times before (strangely enough, it’s a point that people still wantonly ignore). Organising a cup competition around existing competitions would be an absolute logistical minefield.

Secondly, a truly national cup competition (as opposed to, say, the Tiger Turf Cup in NSW) would involve considerable expense in terms of travel and accommodation. We’ve already seen how this factor has served to delay the introduction of a youth league; as with the youth league, these expenses would scarcely be covered by gate takings (let alone TV revenue, were a deal to be struck).

But the most nagging concern is that some of the bitterness felt by the “excluded” state league clubs might spill over onto a more public stage. The South Melbourne v. Melbourne Victory friendly last year provided enough of a PR embarrassment; an escalation of the hostilities in the case of a genuinely competitive game is not hard to envisage.

As for Lynch’s idea of the winners being allotted a spot in the Asian Champions League…frankly, it’s farcical. Somehow I think the AFC might have a problem with Kashima Antlers or Gamba Osaka playing at Jensen Park.

In the long term, a cup competition would be great. But not just yet, thank you very much.

Written by Mike Salter

Read more of his thoughts at The Football Tragic

Written by
Real Football

Published on May 20, 2008

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