Since Australia’s national soccer league, the Hyundai A-League, was founded in 2004 much turmoil and controversy has pinned it wings and stopped it from ever taking off. Clubs and the league itself have constantly been wrestling with finances due to lack of fans and miscommunications with the FFA for certain clubs. These problems reached breaking point last season as North Queensland and Gold Coast United dropped out of the competition.
Many feared a total capitulation of the A-League despite it still being if its infant stages. It seemed all that had kept it alive were big name players such as Dwight Yorke, Romario, Harry Kewell and Robbie Fowler who had kept fans coming to the gates and money rolling in. This was very evident when North Queensland dropped out of the A-League not long after Robbie Fowler, the man Liverpool supporters nicknamed ‘God,’ decided to leave the club. On top of this just one season after he signed Harry Kewell decided to return to England, the A-League was now without a hero.
The chances of another big name coming to play in the league was not overly bright either, who would want to go to a league where halfway through the season their club might suddenly pull out? Let alone players whose stature means they have several clubs in pursuit of their signature. But just before the new season kicked off Sydney FC signed Alessandro Del Piero, the man who is the UEFA Champions League ninth all-time top goal scorer and was once the highest paid player in the world. To give a small idea of how much of a financial boost Del Piero will give the A-League, Sydney FC expect to make five million dollars on jersey sales alone thanks to their new signing.
It remains a mystery why Del Piero would come to Australia’s struggling league from Italy’s most prolific club, why he gave up his place at a club he captained for eleven years. But it is no concern to the A-League, a competition that was on the brink of destruction now has hope of a brighter future.
By Klaus Nannestad