Adelaide shows the way for new era in football

Football Federation Australia (FFA) today announced that there will be no changes to the Hyundai A-League fixtures to take account of Adelaide United Football Club's progress to the semi-finals of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) today announced that there will be no changes to the Hyundai A-League fixtures to take account of Adelaide United Football Club's progress to the semi-finals of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League.

The options presented by Adelaide involve moving their Hyundai A-League games on 26 October against Perth Glory and 8 November against Central Coast Mariners to the next two FIFA breaks respectively (11-12 October and 15-16 November).

"These weekends are designated as FIFA match day breaks," said FFA CEO, Ben Buckley.

"Australian football coaches and administrators have long argued that the FIFA break be adhered to when scheduling the Hyundai A-League competition, consistent with domestic leagues around the world.

"We want to ensure there is maximum flexibility for Pim Verbeek in selecting the best possible squad for international matches, and we don't want to deprive Hyundai A-League players the opportunity to play for the Socceroos if selected," Buckley said.

Verbeek yesterday named 13 Hyundai A-League players in his extended squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification match against Qatar in Brisbane later this month, including four players from Adelaide (Eugene Galekovic, Scott Jamieson, Robert Cornthwaite and Paul Reid).

"The Hyundai A-League draw was constructed this season to take account of both Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United participating in the Asian Champions League, and allows maximum travelling time to and from Asian Champions League matches."

Buckley said that if FFA was to agree to Adelaide's request and move HAL matches out of sequence, it would adversely affect the match preparation and travel schedules for teams that are not participating in the Asian Champions League.

He added that agreeing to Adelaide's request would also create a "complex precedent" in the event that more than one team progressed through the Asian Champions League in future years.

"It would not be possible to move multiple games around in the Hyundai A-League if this situation occurred in future."

He added that although FFA has not agreed to Adelaide United's request to move matches, FFA has offered financial support to help offset the costs of business class airfares as well as support and advice from FFA's National Teams Unit which is very familiar with the issues faced by Adelaide United.

Buckley said that Adelaide United's participation in the Asian Champions League is another indicator of football entering a new era of total professionalism in Australia, and reiterated that it was a "fantastic achievement" for the club of which all Australians should be proud.