There is nothing better in any sport than a close competition. If it all comes down to the last game of the season as to who wins, who makes finals(In Australia) or who comes last and faces relegation. It epitomises sport, and how it reflects life, full of highs and lows and mixed emotions.
This year the Hyundai A league has gone down to the last game as to who will be league champions – yes we know they are classed as Premiers, but as stated before on this site, the team that comes top are the ones who have the right to call themselves champions.
Not only that but there are three teams in with a chance of securing fourth spot and a lucrative home final.
Yet unlike most leagues in the world, and even major tournaments when the final group games are played at the same time, the FFA have the fixtures spread out over three days. So should Newcastle and Wellington lose on Friday evening, the Perth Glory will know on Saturday whether they need a win to secure that spot or not. Surely these games should have all been played at the same time?
Depending on the scores on Friday night Perth Glory’s game could be meaningless in terms of the outcome, and will probably be reflected in the crowd, this hurting the owners financially. We are not saying they will not be up for the game, but the intensity would be greater if they did not know how the other teams were faring.
Not only does it add to the drama but avoids a team rolling over or a contrived result as played out by Austria and West Germany in the World Cup of 1982, that meant Algeria were eliminated.
Some will say television dictates the games be played at different times, but surely with viewer’s choice you could do all the games and allow these at home to flick between games to see who is winning against who and the impact it could have on the final standings?
If the A league is an evolving league that is improving each season, let us hope that this is the last season we witness the final round of matches spread over three days, as it is not good for the game as a whole.