It’s time the APL came clean on the state of the game in the A-Leagues


You would think the APL might be able to go a week without embarrassing themselves, but then they go and announce this season’s Dolan Warren Awards have been axed.

Want to know how well the A-Leagues are going?

They can’t even afford to host the annual season-ending awards ceremony.

Last year Craig Goodwin and Alex Chidiac received their individual player of the year awards in a lavish ‘black carpet’ ceremony at The Star in Sydney.

This year’s winners will be handed their awards at half-time of their respective grand finals – assuming, of course, they’re not actually playing in them.

“We’ve had some fantastic events over the years – of all different variety – but this year we wanted to bring the awards closer to fans and give them a platform to be celebrated during the biggest games of the year,” an APL spokesperson told AAP’s George Clarke.

Which is essentially code for the fact the APL is so broke they can’t even afford to throw an awards night for the footballers whose exploits they’re paid to commercialise.

(Photo by Wendell Teodoro/Getty Images)

If the A-Leagues weren’t so skint, they wouldn’t need the ACT Government to pay an extra $200,000 on top of their usual $250,000 annual subsidy just to keep A-League Women’s side Canberra United afloat next season.

We’re at a point now where we should be concerned about the on-going viability of the two competitions – particularly if the rumours about broadcast subsidies being slashed next season are true.

It won’t stop a vocal minority of perpetually online A-Leagues fans from bashing away at their keyboards to criticise the tone of this column, though.

To them, the blame for the A-Leagues’ myriad problems lay not at the feet of the administrators in charge, but those who can still be bothered writing about them.

It’s an attitude that plays directly into the hands of the APL – an organisation that has burned through millions of dollars with virtually nothing to show for it – and says much about an online culture where the extent of many fans’ support is leaving a trail of social media comments.

And the existential problem the APL faces now – as regular reader Waz pointed out last week – is the fact the A-Leagues have now lost all credibility in the eyes of tens of thousands of active participants who either play the game or otherwise support lower-league clubs.

Which makes the red card Macarthur Bulls defender Ivan Vujica received on Saturday night incredibly counter-productive.

It’s not on-field referee Daniel Elder’s fault that he felt compelled to re-interpret his decision to award Vujica a yellow card in what was then the 34th minute of the game.

It’s the systematic undermining of refereeing decisions the use of VAR has created.

While Vujica deserved no more than a yellow for a high-footed challenge on Sydney FC winger Joe Lolley that was late but not malicious, Elder was no doubt painted into a corner by the precedent set by all the other ridiculous VAR decisions this season.

Sports opinion delivered daily 


Tommy Smith’s elbow on Fabio Gomes looked worse, yet the Bulls somehow managed to hold on to a truly heroic 1-0 win over the Sky Blues in front of their largest-ever home attendance of 7723 fans at Campbelltown Stadium.

The Bulls deserve credit for working quietly behind the scenes to improve their home attendances, and their efforts are clearly starting to pay off.

Yet it’s no surprise their biggest crowds always come against Sydney FC because the Sky Blues bring with them one of the biggest travelling supports in the league.

The good news is there’s still plenty to play for going into the final round of fixtures – even if Central Coast’s postponed clash with Adelaide United now means current table-toppers Wellington Phoenix will be left sweating on the outcome of that Mariners game.

The football we’ve seen this season has certainly been worth celebrating.

If only the APL could afford to do it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.