Radical plans to avoid ‘complete wipe-out’

A-League club owners are reportedly discussing plans to revolutionise the competition for next season, in response to the worsening impacts of the coronavirus.

The proposals, which include halving the salary cap or reducing the season length to just 11 rounds and a shortened finals format, would represent the greatest changes to the competition structure since its founding in 2005.

More than half of the A-League’s clubs have stood down players and staff after the league was suspended last week, with growing uncertainty over when – or if – the season can be resumed.

With the financial costs of the pandemic mounting, The Daily Telegraph reports club owners are in discussions over cost-saving measures for next season.

The report claims: “well-placed sources have told News Corp Australia that a number of club owners want to reduce the salary cap by more than 50 per cent from its current $3.2 million.”

Another bold proposal would see just 11 rounds in the regular season, down from this season’s 28, followed by a shortened finals campaign.

That would likely see each of the 12 teams – assuming Macarthur FC’s entry into the competition goes ahead as planned – face each other just once in the regular season.

According to The Daily Telegraph report, that could see the league run from January to April in order to avoid clashing with the AFL and NRL if those codes extend their currently suspended seasons to the end of the year.

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A-League players and club bosses are equally uncertain about the competition’s future.

Adelaide United director of football Bruce Djite told SEN SA Breakfast on Thursday: “Football will start again. What it looks like? What the A-League looks like? Nobody knows. When it starts again? Nobody knows.”

Brisbane Roar striker Scott McDonald went even further, saying the coronavirus threatened the survival of professional football in Australia.

“I think it could be complete damage, it could be complete wipe-out,” McDonald told Wide World of Sports.

But he wasn’t on board with the proposal to slash the salary cap.

“For me, halving salary caps … just scrap the cap. Why are we even going there?” McDonald said.

“People will have different parameters of what they can and can’t work in and we just have to accept that and be able to deal with that like the rest of the world do. Why are we any different in the game?

“Certain measures have to be changed and that would be one; it can’t be the same for everyone across the board. Some clubs are going to be better off than others.

“That’s just unfortunate for some clubs and players and better for others. What do you do? It’s the same all across the board everywhere in the world, in terms of the game.

“Just cutting the salary cap down to something [more restricted] will kill the game even further, I think, and you’ll lose even better players right from the beginning.

“It might help to not have a cap to keep better players that clubs want still in the league, to see it still be successful.

“Otherwise, they’re all going to just go running away somewhere else and you won’t have a league left then.”

Originally published asRadical plans to avoid ‘complete wipe-out’

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