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FFA and A-League owners agree on strategic direction

The FFA and club owners re-affirmed their commitment to the strategic direction of the Hyundai A-League.

FFA CEO Ben Buckley said the meeting was marked by a mutual recognition of the significant progress the Hyundai A-League has achieved and a collective approach to addressing the ongoing challenges and opportunities for the competition.

"We consulted with each of the clubs in the lead up to the meeting. The meeting provided the forum for collective discussion and review of the strategic issues that had been identified. Coming out of the meeting is a range of options that we have all agreed are worth exploring as part of a strategic review process," said Mr Buckley.

These include: - the competition format and season window - new competitions such as an FFA Cup - player contract regulations and other cost and revenue initiatives - club financial consolidation and sustainability - marketing strategy

"We're only five years into building this competition into a strong domestic league. We need to take stock of what has worked and what has not worked and if we need to a make changes to the model we should.

"All the codes in Australia have to make tough calls from time to time and of course we're no different. From time to time decisions to change things may need to be made but they are decisions that will ultimately lead to a stronger competition," said Mr Buckley.

Speaking on behalf of the Hyundai A-League Clubs, Geoff Lord, Chairman of Melbourne Victory said that the Clubs were very pleased with the outcomes of the meeting and they were fully supportive of the FFA's strategic direction and the review process that was in place.

"The starting point is that we all recognise we have a fundamentally strong game. This season the excitement of the competition and quality of playing standard has been widely acclaimed as the best ever," he said.

"We also represent the most popular global sport and the game that attracts the highest participation rates here at home. The challenge for us all is to build on that base to enhance clubs' financial as well as on-field results."

Scott Barlow, Vice-Chairman of Sydney FC added: "The options put forward by FFA and the clubs present a real opportunity to work together to continue to grow the game."

Mr Buckley said the FFA would also work with the State and Territory Federations and the Hyundai A-League clubs on ways to build stronger community engagement and ties between grassroots football and the Hyundai A-League clubs.

Claude Baradel of the Brisbane Roar said the clubs welcomed this cooperative approach.

"The clubs recognise the power of community engagement and already have programs in place. But there's always opportunity to do more to encourage support and drive attendances," Mr Baradel said.

Mr Buckley further said the meeting today confirmed the level of focus and priority given by FFA to the A-League in recognition of its strategic importance.

"The Hyundai A-League is pivotal to football cementing its position as a major sporting code in Australia. Tomorrow's sell-out crowd at AAMI Stadium for the Melbourne derby game is further evidence that we can regularly generate big attendances. And Nathan Tinkler's investment in the Newcastle Jets represents a major vote of confidence," he said.

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Tribal Football Staff

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