Sydney FC to be awarded A-League Premiership

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Football Federation Australia have taken the unprecedented step of awarding Sydney FC the A-League Premiership for the 2019/20 season after it became clear the season would not be able to be completed.

The Covid-19 outbreak has meant all levels of sport in Australia have ceased to run and with no end to the postponement in sight, FFA have awarded Sydney FC the premiership despite six matches remaining.

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It was initially hoped that the league would be able to return after the initial recommencement date of 14 April but after consultation between FFA, the Australian government and national health experts, it became clear this would be a much longer lay-off.

While it is highly likely that Sydney FC would have rightfully claimed their fourth A-League Premiership if the season was able to continue, the decision has upset traditionalists as three teams still had mathematical chances of overtaking the Sky Blues.

Melbourne City, Wellington Phoenix and Perth Glory were all within reach when the plug was pulled, though it is believed that the FFA’s decision was made easier on Saturday after Glory announced it had ceased paying their players.

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Matters were further complicated when FFA stood down 70% of their staff, making it increasingly difficult to run a season even if it was possible to continue.

FFA CEO James Johnson celebrated the decision, saying it allows the season to have a conclusion of sorts.

“While it’s mathematically possible for three teams to overtake Sydney FC on the ladder, realistically we knew this wouldn’t happen and it’s good to give the competition and betting markets some closure with the awarding of the Premiership,” explained Johnson.

“I want to point out that this decision was made entirely for football reasons and has nothing to do with favouritism of Sydney FC or the fact some of our board members are Sydney FC fans.

“Looking ahead, if we can’t restart the finals series by the beginning of May, we’ll also award Sydney the Championship too, because we all know the best team each year wins the Grand Final and it has nothing to do with just a bit of luck on the day.”

Feature image credit: Jaime Castaneda

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