Simon Hill says Football Federation Australia (FFA) need to conduct a full review of football in Australia before any talks of switching the game from summer to winter take place.
Following a report in the urging the A-League to explore the feasibility of a winter switch, Fox Sports commentator Hill expressed his growing concerns with the current state of the competition.
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Speaking on the with Phil Moss and Daniel Garb, Hill made a passionate plea for the league’s organisers to make an in-house assessment of the A-League before diving headfirst into a seasonal change — a move that Hill admits could be a step in the right direction further down the track.
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“In an ideal world if everything was in place would we play in winter? Of course, because football is a winter game,” Hill said.
“We see when the temperatures are cooler and when we play at night the tempo of the game is better. The players have got more aerobic capacity to get around the pitch. The spectacle is better.
“It would also align our season with the NPL (National Premier Leagues) and Asia — the positives are overwhelming.
“The issue is, is it feasible? And at the moment I just don’t think it is because of the other codes, the media space, what happens to the TV deal and most importantly the stadiums — where would we play?
“If we’re going to share the seasons with AFL, rugby league and rugby union then we need our own stadiums.
“I would like to see the first thing James Johnson (FFA CEO) do is instigate a full review of where we’re at as a game in its entirety. That’s what we need. We need a strategic plan for the whole of the game. Let’s be brutally honest, the game needs a re-boot. We need to look at all of these things and make a plan for where we’re going — not just next year but for five or 10 years time. The Japanese have got a 100-year plan that they’re 10 years into.
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Since, Johnson has remained relatively quiet while the A-League season plays out.
But Hill has urged the governing body to grab the bull by the horns and find the kind of consistency within their decision-making that can truly benefit the game in the long run.
“Without throwing too much mud at the FFA, back in 2017 we were told categorically that we can’t afford expansion and six months later we were expanding.
“We expanded on an ad hoc basis, we invited bids in and now what’s happening with expansion? Does anybody know? Is there a plan for the next two clubs? These are the sort of things where the winter/summer discussion has to be a part of. Second division, promotion and relegation, salary caps, squad sizes, youth development — the list is endless.
“We’ve got to start because at the moment we’re treading water. We’re waiting for this great leap forward and that’s not going to happen without a full review and a strategic plan being put in place.”