The old adage that “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” certainly had a hollow ring to it for the Hyundai A-League this week.
Widespread media coverage of the Perth Glory salary cap issues would have upset not only the members, fans and sponsors of the Glory, but people across the competition.
First and foremost, any sporting competition needs to be conducted on a fair and square basis.
There rightly should be a ferocious contest for competition points, but even the slightest doubt that about integrity causes a lot of doubt and damage.
I don’t wish to dwell upon the Glory situation, but I know many fans in social media forums have questioned the sanction, in particular the placement of Perth Glory in seventh position after the completion of the regular season.
In the first instance, the placement of the club into seventh place is not a sanction in itself. The primary sanction was exclusion from the Hyundai A-League Finals Series.
This was determined because the breaches were so significant and serious that no club in these circumstances could be allowed to compete for the premiership or championship.
The seventh place therefore is a product of the sanction that Perth Glory be excluded from the Finals Series.
If you take this logically, the sanction determined that the Glory could not finish in the top six places.
Given that the sanction did not specify a deduction of points, it follows that Perth will have the highest points tally of any club outside of the top six at the end of the regular season; hence the records will show they are deemed to have finish seventh.
There was commentary in social media that a points deduction should have been imposed. This was not contemplated once the nature and scale of the breaches were known.
There are very practical reasons not to deduct points in this situation. Firstly, a deduction of points affects the records of matches played. Do you then remove the goals scored? Do you remove the points accrued by clubs who defeated or drew with Glory?
Such an action would send ripples way beyond Perth’s season records and create unintended consequences.
A second problem is deciding the time that you deduct points if you were to go down that path. Would the deduction occur on the day of the determination on 10 April?
If so, what status would Perth’s final three games have in terms of records? Again, an unsatisfactory outcome.
As it stands, Perth will play for points in every match, including the final two rounds. That way each match of the season is played for points and we retain a consistency in the records.
Many neutrals called for Perth to be banished to 10th place with zero points. This outcome carries a problem in the integrity of the competition for those who have wagered bets on the outcome of the wooden spoon.
FFA has licensing agreement with several major betting agencies. Placing Perth in 10th was deemed to be more problematic than the exclusion sanction and the by-product of a 7th place.
Some may have wagered on a Perth wooden spoon in recent weeks in trying to pre-empt the FFA’s determination. An unsatisfactory situation.
The good thing is that the matter is resolved and we are looking forward to an exciting finale to the regular season and a blockbuster Finals Series.
And some good publicity.