With tensions at boiling point between the various stakeholders across Australia’s footballing landscape, we are in urgent need of a spark to reignite our love of the game.

Since the beginning of the A-League football across Australia has experienced a rapid growth in popularity with plenty of supporters latching onto the round ball and separating themselves from the likes of rugby league, cricket and AFL.

The competition’s attendance levels peaked 10 years ago in the 2007/08 season which recorded and average of 15,348 spectators attending matches over the course of the season.

During the early stages of the A-League the quality of football may not have been at its best but throughout that period fans maintained their support and faith with the intention that the league would develop over time.

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Now in its 13th season A-League attendances have dropped off significantly with only an average of 10,924 supporters showing up at matches.

While the quality of football has certainly improved off field dramas have seen the A-League stall in recent years with a host of issues preventing the competition from progressing.

Here are some suggestions that would help to reinstall the passion into the Australian footballing public.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) need to facilitate the growth of Australian football by:

Scrapping the salary cap

In the formative years of the A-League a salary cap was necessary because it enabled teams to remain competitive in a league and sport that was trying to attract supporters and build up the necessary fan base.

However as the competition has progressed the salary cap has become more of a hindrance than advantage for clubs. Placing financial constraints to ensure that every team remains on an equal footing is an outdated platform for this league.

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Introducing a transfer window like all the top European leagues will allow teams to chop and change their sides to suit their needs.

Transfer window/s will also significantly widen the selection criteria for clubs by giving them the opportunity to sign contracted players for a transfer fee opposed to constantly relying on free agents.

Introducing promotion/relegation

Considering the success of the FFA Cup and the talent on hand on hand in the National Premier Leagues (NPL), a second tier is a must.

With plenty more fixtures and more opportunity to attend matches in suburban stadiums, introducing a second league would go a considerable way to reigniting supporters’ passion.

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The FFA Cup has proven that a host of NPL sides would be viable options if given the chance to compete in a second tier.

With the capability to cause an FFA Cup upset, these NPL outfits would provide a fitting challenge to some of the A-League’s under performing sides.

The introduction of promotion/relegation would ensure that A-League clubs do not take their position in the top tier for granted while it will also provide the perfect opportunity for some of Australia’s former National Soccer League (NSL) giants to return to the national stage.

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And most importantly…

Maintain open dialogue with supporters

The current state of Australian football has been a deterrent for supporters. The governing bodies need to make amends by listening to the fans.

This is a necessary step to restoring the much-needed love and devotion from supporters which has so far helped shape football in this country.

Feature Image Credit: Steve Christo

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Studying Journalism at UTS. Obsessed with football and a die hard supporter of Sydney FC and Liverpool FC in the EPL